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!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • 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.