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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Being A Moser Pays; Solomon Dwek Gets 72 Months

Federal informant Solomon Dwek, the man whose covert surveillance tapes snared dozens of New Jersey elected officials, rabbis and associates, got sentenced to 72 months in federal prison for his role in two mammoth bank frauds, each involving a bounced $25 million check.

The sentence, imposed by federal district court Judge Jose Linares, is a substantial downward departure from the nine-to-eleven year sentence range agreed upon between prosecutors and Dwek's lawyer.

Under federal guidelines, Dwek must serve at least 85 percent of the imposed sentence. As the sentence is less than 10 years he will be eligible for a minimum security prison camp. He may also receive psychiatric counseling and substance abuse counseling and may be able to get a further reduction on that ground, just like Charles Kushner.  Therefore, assuming a six-month halfway house period, Dwek could be home in less than five years.

The message of this sentence: service on behalf of the government pays. Make no mistake, this was not about "cooperation," because Dwek was caught so red-handed by the government that his admitting his own guilt, his cooperation was not necessary. This sentence was a reward for Dwek's success in ensnaring politicians and others in what became a landmark, high profile investigation that broke down the homestretch of the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial campaign. In many respects, Solomon Dwek is responsible for Chris Christie defeating Jon Corzine in 2009.  Yet, it should be noted that the federal government elected not to charge Dwek for crimes stemming from his allegedly fraudulent procurement of rental cars in the Baltimore, MD area, acts for which Judge Linares revoked Dwek's bail.  These acts occurred while Dwek was ostensibly under the supervision of federal agents.  These acts call into question the wisdom of using troubled criminals like Dwek as cooperating witnesses, as such bad acts seriously undermine their credibility.

PS: "Moser" is the Yiddish word for informer. Among members of the Jewish faith, which has historically faced government persecution over several centuries, the concept of the informer as evil has a connotation different from the modern contempt some have for the government "snitch."  Among the Jewish faith, informing to the government has often been seen as having implications for the very survival of the Jewish people.

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