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N.J. officials, N.Y. rabbis caught in federal money laundering, corruption sweep
by Joe Ryan/The Star-Ledger
Thursday July 23, 2009, 8:15 AM

NEWARK -- A New Jersey assemblyman and the mayors of Hoboken and Secaucus were among public officials arrested this morning by FBI agents in a international money laundering and corruption probe that includes rabbis in the Syrian Jewish communities of Deal and Brooklyn.

Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt (R-Ocean), Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, Secaucus Mayor Denis Elwell and Jersey City Council President Mariano Vega are among those who have been already been brought to the FBI building in Newark. Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini has also been arrested. A total of 30 people have been taken into custody, officials said.
Robert Scrianno/The Star-LedgerHoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano is one of many people brought to FBI Headquarters in Newark after an being taken into custody early this morning.

The arrests are the result of a two year probe that began with an investigation of money transfers by members of the Syrian enclaves in Deal and Brooklyn. Those arrested this morning include key religious leaders in the tight-night, wealthy communities.

The federal investigation then expanded into a public corruption probe.

No indictments have been released, though court appearances are expected later today in U.S. District Court in Newark. Nearly 20 people have already been led into the FBI building in Newark as the sweep continues to unfold in two states.

Agents also raided religious institutions to make arrests and collect information. An employee at the Ohel Yaacob synagogue on Ocean Avenue in Deal said authorities searched the office early this morning.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the IRS took out at least three boxes from the Deal Yeshiva, as students were arriving at the s school. The Deal Yeshiva, on the corner of Brighton and Norwood avenues, is a prestigious religious school in town.

Assemblyman Van Pelt, 44, is also the of Ocean Township, a post he has held since 1988. He holds degrees from The College of New Jersey (Criminal Justice) and Regent University (Public Policy and Government).

Cammarano, 32, was elected mayor of Hoboken in June. He was elected Hoboken City Councilman-at-Large in 2005. According to his campaign website, Cammarano is an attorney at the law firm of Genova, Burns, & Vernoia, which has offices in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Cammarano previously worked as a law clerk for Superior Court Judge Kevin Callahan in Jersey City. He is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Association of the Federal Bar of the State of New Jersey, as well as the bar associations for Hudson, Bergen and Essex Counties. He has also worked as an adjunct professor at Montclair State University.
Robery Scrianno/The Star-Ledger Dennis Elwell, mayor of Secaucus is lead to to FBI Headquarters in Newark after an being taken into custody early this morning.

Elwell, 64, has served for more than two decades as mayor and a member of the town council. Elwell and his council slate recently won victory in their contested Democratic June primary contests.

Elwell is the president of a family-owned trucking company. He is a former Secaucus Board of Education member and a decorated Vietnam combat veteran.

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doesnt shock me one bit. [wallmad]

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Well, I am aghast, politicians doing something illegal, tell me it ain so!

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Funny how they immediatley mention the lone republican assemblyman by party affiliation but mot the democrats . [spy] I hope they get even more of these a-hole out of office before this is over.

Now I know why corslime doesnt want guns in the hands of law abiding citizens....cause it would make it harder for his cronies to conduct illegal business. I wonder if any of the " NJ elite" arrested has a concealed weapons permit from NJ.

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How long till this one ends up in either the "Lounge" or the crossbow forum? :)

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I am so fed up with this freakin state its unbelievable... I cant wait to get out of here!!

What I would really love to know is, if this money is proven to be public tax dollars, will the garden state ever see any of it again? Are we (the taxpayers) ever going to be paid back? As far as Im concerned, a public official stealing from his constituents verges on treason... and they should be dealt with accordingly. Make an example of a few and this crap will stop. Excuse me, I'm gonna go sharpen my pitchfork!!

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The absolute funniest part of all this is:
Nobody is questioning whether or not they are actually guilty!

It's terrible that nobody for a second is surprised by this, and even considers that there was no wrong doing.
It speaks volumes about our political leaders and makes NJ the laughing stock of the US.

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The news said the money amount about is 3 million dollars that was being stolen, then the FBI gets on and says that it was a on going investigation fo 10 years. So it probably cost us 30 million to do a investigation about 3 million .... Either way the tax payers lose....

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Here's the entire list of the 44 New Jersey officials and others who have been arrested this morning in an FBI sweep:

Jersey City Council President Mariano Vega, who is also a Jersey City Housing Authority commissioner and Director of Parks, Engineering and Planning for Hudson County

Former Jersey City Councilman and former state Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith

Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt

Former Jersey City City Council Lori Serrano

Vincent Tabbachino

Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez

Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell

Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini

Political operative Joseph Cardwell

Former Hoboken Councilman Michael Schaffer, who now works for North Hudson Sewerage Authority

Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III

Former Jersey City Council candidate Guy Catrillo

Political operative Jack Shaw

Hudson County Affirmative Action officer Edward Cheatam, also a Jersey City Housing Authority commissioner

Former Jersey City City Council candidate LaVern Webb-Washington

Former state Assemblyman and perennial candidate Lou Manzo

Former Jersey City City Council candidate Michael J. Manzo

Ron Manzo, brother of Lou Manzo

Richard Greene, former aide to L. Harvey Smith

Former 13th District congressional candidate John Guarini, also a city taxi inspector

Former 32nd District Senate candidate Denis Jaslow

Mordchai Fish

Eliahu Ben Haim

Schmulik Cohen

Levi Deutsch

Yeshayahu Ehrental

Levi Izhak Rosenbaum

Edmond Nahum

Lavel Schwartz

Abraham Pollack

Naftoly Weber

Saul Kassin

Shimon Haber

Joseph Castagna

Jeffrey Williamson

Maher A. Khalil

Moshe Altman

Charles Ammon

Itzak Friedlander

Yolie Gertner

David S. Goldhirsh

Binyomin Spira

Arye Weiss

Levi-Ishak Rosenbaum

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From AOL News

"New Jersey's corruption problem is one of the worst, if not the worst, in the nation," said Ed Kahrer, who heads the FBI's white-collar and public corruption division. "Corruption is a cancer that is destroying the core values of this state."
Gov. Jon Corzine said: "The scale of corruption we're seeing as this unfolds is simply outrageous and cannot be tolerated."
Nothing will be done. But God Forbid they let law abiding citzens from outside states from carrying concealed weapons in the state! [down]

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The news said the money amount about is 3 million dollars that was being stolen, then the FBI gets on and says that it was a on going investigation fo 10 years. So it probably cost us 30 million to do a investigation about 3 million .... Either way the tax payers lose....
That all depends on the end result. If they are found guilty and are punished to the FULLEST, then it's worth it to set the example to others. FULLEST being hardtime incarceration and loss of property/assets. Honestly, I doubt it life experience. BTW, look at it from the point of view of the investigators who gave it their fullest. If these people plea bargain down the charges or get off lightly, it would be a real smack-down. Not for nothing, I think one and all are guilty, I don't think the FBI would've or could've made the move without absolute confidence in these cases.
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