A leader of New York’s Syrian Jewish community pleaded guilty to laundering money through a religious charity.
Rabbi Saul Kassin, 79, pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain Monday in federal court. He faces up to $250,000 in fines and could face up to five years in prison, though prosecutors reportedly will not seek a prison sentence as part of the plea deal.
Kassin was arrested in July 2009 by the FBI along with 43 other rabbis from Syrian Jewish neighborhoods in Deal and Elberon, N.J., as well as Brooklyn, N.Y. The mayors of three New Jersey towns, a deputy mayor and a state assemblyman were also arrested.
Kassin confessed to using his Magen Israel Society to launder money given to him by Solomon Dwek, a real-estate tycoon and the son of a prominent Syrian rabbi who was arrested in 2006 for a $50 million bank fraud. Under the system, Kassin and the charity kept 10 percent. Dwek later became a federal informant.