Thursday, January 5, 2012
Ex-jail rabbi pleads 'not guilty' in housing scam
The former jailhouse rabbi who lost his job for granting favors to Jewish inmates pleaded not guilty this morning to charges he scammed more than $220,000 in federal housing benefits.
Rabbi Leib Glanz -- who quit as a corrections chaplain after The Post exposed a bar mitzvah bash he arranged inside the Tombs -- is accused with his younger brother of running a 15-year fraud on the Section 8 rent-subsidy program for the poor.
During their arraignment in Manhattan federal court, the bearded, yarmulke-wearing men said only two words: "Not guilty."
Prosecutor Justin Anderson said the evidence against them consisted of about 200 pages of documents, including bank statements, credit-card bills and employment records.
Anderson said he planned to hand over the papers to the defense within two weeks.
He also said sides planned to discuss a possible "pre-trial disposition" before the brothers' next court appearance in March.
According to the feds, Leib swindled up to $1,675 a month in taxpayer funds by illegally occupying a Brooklyn duplex that had been approved for his brother, Menashe, who actually lived in another home nearby.
The politically connected leader of the Satmar Hasidic community allegedly pulled off the scam by signing a housing contract on behalf of the building's owner, the United Talmudical Academy, which he once ran.
Meanwhile, Menashe allegedly paid the UTA less than $100 a month to cover the rest of the rent, in what the city Department of Investigation termed the "the largest individual case of tenant fraud" it has ever seen.
Outside court, Menashe's lawyer, Charles Stillman, said: "We're going to take a look at the documents and figure out the right way to go forward."
Leib's lawyer, Alan Vinegrad, declined to comment.