Federal prosecutors have charged a third Hasidic man in an alleged conspiracy to kidnap a man who had refused to release his wife from marriage.
Shimen Liebowitz, 25, and Aharon Goldberg, 55, were arrested September 6 and charged with planning to pay a private investigator $55,000 to kidnap and then murder the man.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested their alleged co-conspirator, Binyamin Gottlieb, at JFK Airport on September 11 as he prepared to board a flight to Ukraine. Gottlieb purchased the ticket on September 9, two days after the arrests of his alleged co-conspirators were made public.
Gottlieb has been charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Unlike Liebwotz and Goldberg, Gottlieb was not charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire.
According to court papers, Gottlieb waived his Miranda rights upon his arrest and gave a sworn statement saying that he had attended a meeting between at which the alleged kidnapping plot was discussed, and that he had delivered $25,000 to the private investigator.
In charging documents filed today in federal court in the Southern District of New York, prosecutors claimed that Gottleib introduced Liebowitz and Goldberg to the private investigator. The private investigator, unbeknownst to the alleged conspirators, began cooperating with the FBI.
The charging documents describe a July meeting between the private investigator, Gottlieb, Liebowtz, and Goldberg, at which the kidnapping was discussed.
At one point in the conversation, the investigator asked the men who would pay. “The Jewish community,” one of the men said.
“There is money,” Gottleib said.
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Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.