At The centre Of The New Jersey Political Scandal: A One-Man, Walking Truth Serum

solomon dwek rabbi

You can’t really appreciate the genius of Solomon Dwek, the failed property developer and informant at the centre of the complex New Jersey political corruption-money laundering-kidney trafficking case, without reading his wiretap transcripts.

But here’s a taste from today’s Wall Street Journal profile on how the pious New Jersey rabbi’s son came to be an FBI informant in the first place:

According to the criminal complaint in the PNC case, in April 2006 Mr. Dwek deposited a $25.2 million check at a PNC branch in Eatontown, N.J., drawing on another PNC account he controlled. That account had insufficient funds, but Mr. Dwek assured the bank he would cover the difference the next day, according to the complaint, and PNC credited him with the money.

Imagine if you tried to get a bank to basically hand you $25 million on the promise that you’d totally show up the next day. 

For whatever reason, people trusted Solomon Dwek. And this made him law-enforcement gold. His federal wiretap might have been the “worst-kept secret in New Jersey” but that didn’t stop 44 people from detailing their kidney-trafficking, money-laundering, influence-peddling, election-selling operations straight into the microphone. 

And then he began spraying his truth serum to:

  • shady rabbis,
  • a smarmy up-and-coming politico who can’t be bothered to pay child support to the woman he knocked up in high school, and
  • illegal kidney brokers.

The web of corruption unearthed by Dwek was so sprawling and random it’s as though the guy was charged with bringing down a money laundering racket and threw in the New Jersey political machine and the kidney guy just for kicks.

It wasn’t just crooks and smugglers who liked Dwek. He had a way with kids too:

When 7-year-old Ryan Michael Saberon fell ill with cancer, Solomon Dwek became his friend. Dwek visited him weekly for a year, his father, Eugene G. Saberon, said.

In early 1998, Ryan was in a hospital room at Monmouth Medical centre, Long Branch, when he noticed a boy wearing a yarmulke in the bed next to him. He knew that meant the boy was Jewish, and told him he had learned in Christian Sunday school that the Jews were God’s chosen people.

Rabbi Isaac Dwek visited the Jewish boy that day, and his son, Solomon, soon came into the room. The Dweks spoke with Ryan. Solomon then began visiting Ryan regularly, and the two had long conversations together about God, the Bible and Jewish tradition, Eugene Saberon recalled.

“He would hear Ryan speak about God and heaven,” said Saberon, a Christian. “They talked good together. Solomon shared a lot of things with me about the Jewish religion. He lifted our spirits many times. The man helped me in many ways. He kept my hope up. He’s a remarkable man. Ryan loved him.”

Dwek also paid the kid’s hospital bills, and was there when he died. 

It’s too bad we can’t send Dwek down into Charlotte, North Carolina and get Ken Lewis to explain what really happened with that Merrill Lynch acquisition.

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