Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Possible yeshiva tech fraud uncovered years ago 

While dozens of FBI raids in Rockland County were carried out only last week, it turns out two people were sounding the alarm about the possible abuse of federal technology funds in the Hasidic community years ago.

In a community in which computers and the Internet are shunned and often forbidden, dozens of private yeshivas accepted millions of federal dollars over nearly two decades to modernize classrooms. News 12 cameras were rolling last week as federal agents raided many of those yeshivas across Rockland, investigating possible fraud within the E-Rate program.

Now, it appears that the raids can likely be traced back to the Flatiron section of Manhattan and the investigative work of two journalists who happen to be Jewish.
Julie Weiner is the former associate editor of The Jewish Week publication. Upon hearing news of the raids, she said her "main surprise was that it didn't happen earlier."

Three years ago, Weiner and her then-co-worker Hella Winston first revealed possible E-Rate abuse in a bombshell investigation that she says raised red flags from the get-go. Weiner says she hopes that the raids will result in more accountability of taxpayer dollars, if anything.

So far, no arrests have been made in the wake of the raids. The FBI has not provided further details regarding the case.

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