The informer in the N.J. corruption case

July 24, 2009 3:59:38 PM PDT
It's a fairly modest home for the former developer. Dwek Solomon had built a more than $300-million dollar real estate empire before it all started to unravel two years ago at a bank's drive-up window.

Authorities say Dwek bounced "two $25 million dollar checks."

Flash ahead to Thursday's federal round-up of 44 rabbis and politicians on corruption charges. At the center of it all, Solomon Dwek, real estate mogul turned FBI mole.

"To have one informant so valuable, infiltrating so many crime schemes is unusual," former U.S. Attorney Randy Mastro.

In the insular Jewish community of Deal, New Jersey, no one seemed to know Dwek, who once headed a yeshiva school in town and is the son of the rabbi at the Deal synagogue.

Many of the people in Deal and Brooklyn's Jewish communities knew of his troubles with the law, knew that he could face many years behind bars. Still, despite that notoriety, according to authorities Dwek was able to ensnare prominent rabbis in money laundering schemes.

"Criminals tend to know other criminals. So, for whatever reason, people were not wary of him and he managed to infiltrate wider and wider circles," Mastro said.

Those circles rippled out to mayors and lawmakers throughout New Jersey, democrat and republican alike. Easy marks, according to authorities, for a wired Dwek catching one corrupt politician after another on tape, taking cash to "smooth" through his fictitious development deals.

"You are going to see pressure, enormous pressure on them to cooperate with law enforcement authorities as well to cut deals to talk about their own criminal activities with others," Mastro explained.

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