Brooklyn Man Admits Traveling to New Jersey to Violently Extort Divorce Consent from Reluctant Husband
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 25, 2014|
TRENTON—A Brooklyn, New York man admitted today in Trenton federal court to traveling to New Jersey in order to coerce a Jewish man to give his wife a religious divorce—referred to as a “get”—through threats of violence, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Simcha Bulmash, 30, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson to an information charging him with traveling in interstate commerce to commit extortion. His bail conditions include a $500,000 bond and GPS monitoring.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On October 9, 2013, Bulmash and a group of conspirators—including Jay Goldstein, 59; Moshe Goldstein, 31; Avrohom Goldstein, 34; David Hellman, 31; Ariel Potash, 40; Binyamin Stimler, 38; and Sholom Shuchat, 29—traveled from New York to a warehouse in Edison, New Jersey, with the intent of forcing a Jewish man to give his wife a “get,” a divorce document which, according to Jewish Law, must be presented by a husband to his wife to effect their divorce.
Bulmash admitted that when he arrived at the warehouse, the group met with an individual who, unbeknownst to them, was an undercover FBI agent posing as the husband’s brother in law. Bulmash admitted that they discussed a plan and prepared to confine, restrain, and threaten the victim.
The group was then arrested by a team of FBI agents and charged by criminal complaint—along with rabbis Mendel Epstein, 68, and Martin Wolmark, 55—in connection with the scheme. Hellman pleaded guilty to an information charging him with traveling in interstate commerce to commit extortion on March 6, 2014. Moshe and Avrohom Goldstein pleaded guilty to the same charge on March 11, 2014. The charges against the remaining alleged conspirators remain pending. All the defendants reside in Brooklyn, except Potash and Wolmark, who live in Monsey, New York.
During his guilty plea proceeding, Bulmash also admitted that on August 22, 2011, he and others went to a residence in Brooklyn where they restrained, assaulted, and injured a man in an attempt to extort a divorce from him. That conduct will be considered by the court during sentencing, currently scheduled for July 10, 2014.
Bulmash faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the Lakewood, New Jersey Police Department for their role.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys R. Joseph Gribko and Sarah Wolfe of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Trenton.
The pending charges and allegations against related defendants are merely allegations, and they are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.