Solomon Dwek: The Rabbi's Son at the Center of the Corruption Probe

By Natasha Mozgovaya (Haaretz)

Published July 24, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A few years ago, Solomon Dwek was the black sheep of the New Jersey Jewish community where his father Yitzhak was a prominent rabbi. After a string of failed real estate ventures and charges of bank fraud, Dwek’s career appeared all but over. But the rabbi’s son found his true calling as an FBI informant, where he is now achieving stardom after helping bring indictments against 44 defendants, including a number of prominent rabbis, four ex-mayors and a former senator, in one of the largest money-laundering and corruption investigations seen in the U.S. in years.

Among the big fish scooped up in the arrest is the new mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey Peter Cammarano, who along with a number of local civic leaders met with Dwek for lunch this past April, where the failed real-estate man implored them to help “expedite” his business ventures.

During their meal, Cammarano promised Dwek he “could trust in him” and shortly thereafter the two met in the parking lot where Dwek handed the soon-to-be mayor an envelope with $5,000 cash and a message for one of Cammarano’s confidants. All the while, Cammarano and his co-conspirators had no idea that the quiet, skullcap-wearing real estate man across the table was the central FBI informant in an investigation that would make the front pages of papers from New York to Tel Aviv.

With his back against the wall, and working as an FBI informant in order to dodge white-collar charges, Dwek managed to “launder” $3 million in funds from Brooklyn, New York and New Jersey municipal officials.

Three years ago, Dwek was caught trying to pass a fraudulent check for $25 million at an FNC branch in New Jersey. He was charged with bank fraud and promptly declared bankruptcy. For Dwek, working for the FBI would be a way to save himself from a lengthy jail sentence. For the FBI, this failed real estate man would prove himself to be a more than successful informant.

In spite of his central role in building one of the largest corruption and money-laundering cases in years, it’s not certain how rosy Dwek’s future will be. After selling nearly 350 of his 400 properties for a sum of around $30 million, Dwek has still not come close to covering his debts, which stand at hundreds of millions of dollars.

A leader of a prominent Jewish organization told Haaretz this week that in the wake of the Bernie Madoff scandal, photos of rabbis in handcuffs splashed across the front pages of publications such as the New York Times serve only to harm the community, but that it was time to accept the fact that “a criminal is a criminal, whether he wears a kippa or not”.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.