Avrohom Goldstein, 34, and Moshe Goldstein, 31, were among 10
men, including their father and two Orthodox Jewish rabbis,
arrested last fall in the alleged scheme in which they hired
themselves out to unhappy wives who wanted their husbands
kidnapped and beaten until they agreed to divorce, according to
New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.
Orthodox Jewish women cannot get a divorce unless their husbands
consent through a document known as a "get," and wives paid tens
of thousands of dollars to the ring that would abduct and beat
their husbands, prosecutors said at the time of the arrests in
The Goldsteins and several other men traveled to a warehouse in
Edison, New Jersey, on October 9, 2013, where they were met by
two FBI agents posing as an Orthodox Jewish wife and her brother
in a sting operation, prosecutors said.
The pair were to pay $10,000 up front and another $50,000 for
men who would beat her husband, they said.
Agents arrested the group at the warehouse.
Avrohom Goldstein pleaded guilty in Trenton federal court on
Tuesday to traveling in interstate commerce to commit extortion,
and his brother pleaded guilty to the same charge on Monday,
The Goldsteins also admitted that on August 22, 2011, they and
others restrained, assaulted and injured a man in Brooklyn, also
in an attempt to extort a divorce from him.
Experts say such schemes are in response to so-called "get
abuse," in which husbands demand a larger share of the couple's
communal property before granting the divorce.
While a "get" is not required for a civil divorce, that
proceeding would not be recognized by Orthodox leaders and the
couple would remain married under Jewish law.
A sentencing date of June 16 was set for Moshe Goldstein and
June 20 for Avrohom Goldstein. They each face the possibility of
20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Last week, David Hellman, 31, a New York personal trainer, also
pleaded guilty to being part of the violent ring. Hellman's
sentencing is set for June 12.
The other seven men, including the brothers' father Jay
Goldstein, 59, and the rabbis — Mendel Epstein, 68, and Martin
Wolmark, 55 — still face criminal charges.
All but two of the men live in Brooklyn. The others live in
Monsey, New York.
(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; editing by Gunna Dickson)
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