July 23rd, 2009
01:45 PM ET

Mayors, rabbis arrested in corruption probe

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/07/23/new.jersey.arrests/art.cammarano.bust.jpg caption="Hoboken, New Jersey, Mayor Peter Cammarano III is among those arrested in the public corruption probe."]

At least three New Jersey mayors, other public officials and rabbis were among 44 people arrested Thursday in a federal investigation of public corruption and money laundering.

Hoboken, New Jersey, Mayor Peter Cammarano III and New Jersey Assembly members Daniel Van Pelt and L. Harvey Smith were among those arrested, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Newark, New Jersey.

Federal officials also accused five rabbis, including the national leader of the Syrian Jewish community, of laundering more than $3 million, said acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra Jr.

In total, people paid more than $650,000 in bribes to New Jersey public officials, he said.

Investigators charged one man with conspiring to broker - for a fee of $160,000 - the sale of a human kidney for transplant.

Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn, New York, offered to obtain a kidney - in return for the fee - for an undercover FBI agent and confidential witness working for authorities, a criminal complaint said.

The arrests for public corruption and money laundering underscore "the pervasive nature of corruption in this state," Marra said.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Raw Politics
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Terri

    Leaders of any group whether political, corporate, or religious get involved in this stuff for the same reason any other criminal does.....to make money the easy way! John Gotti was very generous in his own backyard, too! Did he buy his way to Heaven? I think not.

    July 23, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  2. Jim

    That is all the corupt people they got???? Better do a little more digging in every State- From the lowest to the highest The Whole system everywhere is full of coruption.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  3. Anais

    Being from Hudson County and the Hoboken/Jersey City area, I am not in the least bit surprised. Corruption in Husdon County is as traditional as Christmas, or in the case of some of these criminals, Hanukkah.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  4. Michael C. McHugh

    I'm a Unitarian myself–a deist who has no use for any organized religion, although I believe in God. I do wonder how rabbis managed to get themselves mixed up with the New Jersey Mafia like this?

    July 23, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  5. David

    Please remember.
    Judaism is perfect. However, not all Jews are perfect.

    July 23, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  6. Sabrina In Las Vegas

    After 9-11 I converted to Judaism from having no formal religion of my own.

    I often felt things weren't running right in the upper levels and those in the base community block you out.

    I choice that religion based on what the book said (Torah/bible) not the way the people acted.

    I have left that community and gone back to being spiritual but guided by what I learned from that book, not what the rabbis say is correct.

    Governer Spitzer was at the Passover program that the company I worked for was running in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Ritz Carlton. He showed up with his wife and girls and my boss and he were talking. I saw the myspace pics of Ashley Duprey then..her on the boat in the white bikini and her with her head down and the hands in the V.

    She and her brother showed up and my daughter and I were headed down the grand staircase near the ballrooms, right behind them, on our way outside for a walk before the Sabbath started. She talked a lot of stuff and stopped at the jewelry store near the casino and told her brother she could buy anything in there now.

    I am learning that religious men and men of power are not righteous unless they are pious and truly follow God's laws not their own.

    I would rather be spiritual with guidance from a rule book than like them any day.

    I am glad that we have agencies with people, like myself, that want to see the corruption and greed and illegal/immoral removed from our society.

    July 23, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    In this day of constant stories about politicians falling from grace, Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme, other financial irregularities this story shouldn't surprise me but it does – one would have thought that at least the religious clergymen would be on the up and up – now we have currupt rabbis.....when does it end?

    July 23, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  8. chimdi N

    This is so so funny, these guys need to come to NIgeria to learn a lesson or two on bribery & corruption. An adage in ibo land goes thus"if you want to eat a frog, make sure you eat a very fat frog, so when people call you a frog eater, you'll proudly answer YES!

    July 23, 2009 at 2:14 pm |