Samuel Tress, a haredi candidate on the Democratic slate for the Ramapo, New York town board and a current member of Ramapo's Zoning Board of Appeals, has a federal mail-fraud conviction related to a mortgage scam. And he lives in Lakewood, New Jersey – not Ramapo, New York.
Above: Samuel Tress (right)
Ramapo Haredi Politician Convicted Felon Who Really Lives In New Jersey, Investigation Finds
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Samuel Tress, a haredi candidate on the Democratic slate for the Ramapo, New York town board and a current member of Ramapo's Zoning Board of Appeals, has a federal mail-fraud conviction and lives in New Jersey, the Journal News reported tonight.
The 70-year-old Tess told the paper he remembers being prosecuted in 2004, but he claimed the local community doesn't know about it and his lawyer for the 2004 federal case, Michael Pollack, refused to answer questions from the Journal News regarding it.
But the Journal News found court records that reportedly show that Tress admitted to assuming a false identity in order to get a home mortgage loan used to purchase a home in Spring Valley, New York. He pleaded guilty to the felony and was sentenced in March 2005 to three years of supervised release.
But Tress falsely told the Journal News the charges against him had been dismissed. When confronted by the facts, Tress reportedly said he didn’t remember pleading guilty.
As for where he lives now, Tress first claimed to live in a rented Monsey apartment but then admitted admitted he lives in New Jersey.
"I'm not denying that I live in New Jersey, but I am most of the week in Monsey,” Tress said.
Tress is the CEO of East Morgan Holdings, a remediation company based in the largely haredi enclave of Lakewood, New Jersey, where he also owns a home, tax records show.
However, Tress is registered to vote in Monsey, New York and voted in the most recent primary election there, New York State Board of Elections records obtained under the Freedom of Information Law by the Journal News show.
To legally vote in a jurisdiction, New York State Election Law requires an individual to intend to make the address he or she claims as their residence his or her permanent home. To qualify to run for office, the individual must legally reside in the jurisdiction when elected.
Tress appears to fail both of those tests.
Under New York law, zoning board members are also required to be legal residents of the jurisdiction – something Tress appears not to be.
Tress claimed he's "not that active in politics" and was encouraged to run by haredi community leaders and rabbis.
"I was approached by community leaders and some of the rabbis, they felt I sort of had a neutral stand on issues," he said.
Democratic town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, who is viewed by much of the non-haredi citizens of Ramapo as a mouthpiece for and puppet of the haredi bloc vote, said he supports Tress because he "comes from a very good family and he's a very good person who would do a very good job."
When asked about Tress' mail-fraud conviction by the Journal News, St. Lawrence claimed he didn't know about it.