WHAT HAPPENED

How N.J. Corruption Ring Was Exposed

Forty-four people—including three New Jersey mayors, two state assemblymen, and five rabbis—were arrested Thursday for participation in a vast money-laundering ring that extended from Deal, N.J. and Brooklyn, N.Y. to as far as Israel and Switzerland. It all began when a philanthropist and real estate developer, Solomon Dwek, himself charged once with money-laundering, became a federal informant, and led investigators into two massive networks: that of the rabbis of the Syrian Jewish community and another between public officials in cities like Jersey City and Hoboken. Dwek told his targets that he was trying to conceal his assets, and many accepted checks from him, deducted a fee, and then returned the rest to him in cash—once in an Apple Jacks cereal box stuffed with $97,000. Over $3 million was laundered for Dwek since 2007. To approach the public officials, Dwek posed as a developer building high-rises and took money out of the trunk of his car to bribe them. Among the officials arrested is Peter J. Cammarano III, the 32-year-old mayor of Hoboken who took office this month and is charged with taking $15,000 in cash. Another official, Assemblyman Daniel M. Van Pelt, who runs the Department of Environmental Protection, is charged with accepting money to help Dwek obtain environmental permits. In the Jewish communities, one man, Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum, is accused of soliciting people to give their kidneys for $10,000—and then selling them for $160,000.