Two rabbis accused in kidnap, torture of men who won’t divorce wives

bronx murder arrest
Credit: Metro Photo Archive

Two New York rabbis plotted to kidnap and torture Jewish men to force them to divorce their wives, according to the FBI.

Rabbi Mendel Epstein, 68, of Brooklyn and Rabbi Martin Wolmark, 55, of Monsey, charged Jewish women thousands of dollars to obtain religious divorces, known as “gets,” from reluctant husbands, the FBI said.

Under Orthodox Jewish law, only a man can initiate a get.

“They beat them up, tied them up, shocked them with Tasers and stun guns until they got what they want,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Gribko said Thursday in a federal court hearing in Trenton, N.J., according to The New York Times.

The two rabbis, along with eight other men, were arrested following an undercover operation in which a female agent posed as a Jewish woman seeking the rabbis’ services. A male agent posed as the woman’s brother.

According to the complaint, Epstein said his associates could persuade husbands to grant the divorces by torturing them with electric cattle prods.

The cost was $10,000 to pay for the rabbis on the rabbinical court to approve the kidnapping and an additional $50,000 to $60,000 to pay the “tough guys” to carry out the deed, the FBI said.

“I guarantee you that if you’re in the van, you’d give a get to your wife,” Epstein said to the male undercover agent. “You probably love your wife, but you’d give a get when they finish with you.”

Epstein said his team did jobs like this approximately every 18 months. Prosecutors said they believe the group carried out about 20 kidnappings over the years.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.