NBC News adds more information to the story FailedMessiah.com broke last night of the arrests of several haredi rabbis, including Mendel Epstein, Martin (Mordechai) Wolmark and Jacob Goldstein, on extortion and related charges:
…The FBI said Thursday that agents arrested rabbis Mendel Epstein and Martin Wolmark in a sting operation, where an undercover posed as a woman who wanted out of her marriage. Orthodox rules allow only a man to initiate a divorce.
The men allegedly asked for tens of thousands of dollars to target husbands, and claimed they did jobs like this every 18 months in their community.
The criminal complaint alleged the two rabbis boasted of a plan to use electric cattle prods, plastic bags over heads and other methods to persuade reluctant husbands. In the sting operation, the FBI said the pair earlier this month even helped scout a warehouse in Middlesex County to hold husbands hostage.
The rabbis allegedly met in Rockland County in August to authorize the kidnapping-for-divorce-plot. They said they wanted $10,000 for the kidnapping and $50,000 to $60,000 to pay a "tough guy."…
And the NJ Star Ledger adds:
…“Ya know, this is an expensive thing to do. It’s not simply…basically what we are going to be doing is kidnapping a guy for a couple of hours and beating him up and torturing him and then getting him to give the get,” [Mendel Epstein allegedly told an undercover FBI agent].
One of his tools of persuasion, he said, was an electric cattle prod.
“If it can get a bull that weights five tons to move…You put it in certain parts of his body and in one minute the guy will know,” Epstein was recorded in conversations with the undercover female FBI agent.
The cost was not cheap. They charged $10,000 to get the rabbis on the rabbinical court to approve the kidnapping, and an additional $50,000 to $60,000 to pay for the “tough guys” who would do the rough stuff.…