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The Jersey Sting: A True Story of Crooked Pols, Money-Laundering Rabbis, Black Market Kidneys, and the Informant Who Brought It All Down Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 15, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, March 15, 2011
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From Booklist

When Solomon Dwek bounced multimillion-dollar checks in 2006, his real-estate Ponzi scheme collapsed, and he was facing decades in the slammer. To mitigate his punishment, he agreed to wear an FBI microphone and camera that recorded the eager acceptance by rabbis in Brooklyn and public officials and political fixers in New Jersey of cash he handed out by the thousands. After this case sensationally broke in 2009 with dozens of arrests, Sherman and Margolin reported the story for the Newark Star-Ledger, and here they narrate Dwek�s undercover dramatics. A natural as well as voluble liar, Dwek exuded faux generosity, ensnaring Jewish charities that cheated Uncle Sam of taxes by laundering fake donations. If such perversion of philanthropy was shocking when revealed, bribery in the Garden State merely confirmed public expectations. Still, Dwek�s dialogues with the easily bought make for bizarrely entertaining reading that connoisseurs of corruption will savor. Including political ramifications��the sting�s authorizer, Chris Christie, won the New Jersey governor�s election in 2009��Sherman and Margolin grittily show white-collar crime caught as it was being committed. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

"Two very good reporters at The Star-Ledger have done this state — and the whole country, for that matter — a great service...Juicy... a masterful job." --The Newark Star-Ledger
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312654170
  • ASIN: B007BWACJE
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,919,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Doctor.Generosity TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 23, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The fascinating part of the story is a circle of corruption whose focal point was a member of the Syrian Orthodox Jewish community in New Jersey, working with the FBI in order to lighten his own sentence for bank fraud. It is a sad story how even prominent rabbis were engaged in money laundering, illegal organ smuggling, and more. Guess they missed the day at yeshiva when the Eighth Commandment was discussed. Solomon Drek gets the award for pathological sleazeball of the century. He clearly relished all the cloak-and-dagger of entrapping all his supposed friends and counterparties. Recently he was re-arrested for a minor crime related to a rental car, causing him to return to prison, wasting all his hard work as a rat. Nobody likes Solomon Drek.

And these are supposedly observant religious people. Same can be said of Catholic priests. What can we say of those who profess to live a life in accord with divine law yet commit crimes of greed and perversion? Someday I would like to see each and every one of the world religions and sub divisions, spiritual movements, sects and belief systems - get a report card based on how its adherents actually behave, using some objective criteria such as criminal conviction records. Would be an interesting statistic and say something about walking the talk.

The less interesting part of this book is a minutely detailed catalog of every small time crooked politician in New Jersey. The authors are newspaper reporters and here they have simply dumped out all the data they know about each and every pol. All of it. For anyone not equally obsessed, there is way too much exhaustive detail. There is no discussion of why NJ came to have such a culture of corruption. There is no discussion of the Syrian Jewish community. There is no discussion, period. All trees, no forest. And whereas the key event is the arrest of 44 people on one day, it takes 292 pages of a 386 page book to get to that event. Don't books have editors anymore?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Jersey Sting" tells the story of a wide-ranging statewide corruption sting involving crooked politicians,money-laundering Rabbis,even an organ selling scam,all brought about by a rotund con-artist who was himself operating a"ponzi"scheme and was caught by the feds,who put him undercover....While there are no sensational murders or slam-bang car chases here to capture the inattentive minds of the sort of audience that reads comic books and gets its news in two sentence blurbs on the internet for those wanting to read in detail how one of the most massive non-organized crime stings went down this book is a goldmine..
....it is also rather disturbing,and not just because so many mayors council-persons,political fixers and clergy were involved,but the detestable reaction amongst the syrian Orthodox jewish community to revealations that many of its revered religious leaders were in fact little more than hypocrite rogues hiding behind thier holy books...The book makes it quite clear that the sort of million dollar money laundering described was a well known and well kept secret among the community,and that far from being pleased that the bad apples among them were exposed the community instead vented its rage against the"rat" whose undercover work made the whole sting possible..Solomon Dwek,the ponzi scheme artist whom the feds used to get both the crooked pols and the crooked rabbis has been vilified by his own orthodox religious community,apparently on the absurd and dangerous notion that being a crook,being a religios leader who is a crook is somehow better than being the one who exposes this sort of activity ...Loyalty to the tribe is,in thier absurd way of thinking more important that following the laws of the land,or exposing the rogues to justice.
Many of the crooked pols and the religious leaders caught confessed and have been sentenced...Most of those who chose a trial were convicted...
All in all an excellent read.
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Format: Hardcover
Sherman and Margolin are established and well respected investigative journalists who demonstrate in this book that they aren't just reporters, they're writers. They clearly put their considerable skills to use assimilating all the facts, reviewing the tapes and records, conducting interviews and translating all of that into a story that is rich in detail and truly hard to put down. They take us behind the scenes and into the heads of the perpetrators, victims, investigators and prosecutors to connect the dots and develop character portraits that makes it easy for readers to "visualize" the story as if it were a movie. This story is truly one from the "truth is stranger, and more unbelievable, than fiction" files. A great read. Let's hope they're not done.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Its hard to believe how greedy, stupid, or gullible NewJersey politics are. This books deftly tells the story of these individuals and the person who enticed them into the waiting arms of law enforcement like a lamb being lead to its demise. Well written and very well told.
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The only thing crazier than Dwek's cons is how many people ignored the warning signs and went into business with this guy. The authors do an excellent job of turning a complicated con into an engaging story.
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Once I began reading this book it was difficult to put it down. If you're a Jersey native and politically involved on any level this is a must read. From the major political players to the building inspectors, Jersey's political characters and their shenanigans make this book a lively and at times comedic read.
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