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Thursday, December 15, 2016

FBI picks up Shalom Lamm on voter fraud charges 

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Chestnut Ridge developers Shalom Lamm and Kenneth Nakdimen were arrested on voting fraud charges Thursday morning.

An indictment unsealed Thursday charges Lamm, Nakdimen and businessman Volvy "Zev" Smilowitz with conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process for their efforts to bring in and pay people who did not live in the Village of Bloomingburg to vote in the 2014 election for mayor and trustee.

Lamm and Nakdimen established a presence in Bloomingburg when they began plans to build a 396-unit townhouse development called Chestnut Ridge, on land that was annexed from the Town of Mamakating into the Village of Bloomingburg. It became apparent in 2012 that the homes were designed to accommodate Hasidic families, which caused an uproar in the village of only a few hundred residents.

Vehement opposition to Chestnut Ridge grew, and a series of lawsuits and planning board decisions slowed construction of the project.

"When met with resistance, rather than seek to advance their real estate development project through legitimate means, the defendants instead decided to corrupt the electoral process in Bloomingburg by falsely registering voters and paying bribes for voters who would help elect public officials favorable to their project," the indictment said.

Lamm, Nakdimen and Smilowitz bribed non-local residents with money, subsidies and other items of value to vote in the 2014 village election, the indictment said. Lamm paid one person $500 per voter recruited, totaling more than $30,000 per month.


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