Lohud reports that FBI agents raided several yeshiva locations in an ongoing fraud investigation looking into the misuse of federal E-Rate program funds which are education technology dollars intended for computer and Internet access.
FBI agents and Rockland district attorney’s office investigators fanned out across Ramapo on Wednesday with search warrants demanding that vendors and yeshivas provide records and account for equipment allegedly bought by religious schools with millions in federal education technology dollars.
Agents descended around 1:30 p.m. on vendors at 21 and 29 Robert Pitt Drive, Monsey; 161 Route 59, Monsey; and 386 Route 59, Airmont to seize records.
The raids began to spread in the late afternoon to yeshivas in the Monsey area. A group of FBI agents were seen outside a yeshiva at 93, 95 and 97 Highview Avenue, all converted single-family homes. They would not comment.
At the Yeshiva High School of Monsey on College Road on Wednesday afternoon, two investigators standing inside a garage that had been converted into a classroom were looking through an opened safe as they took notes. A reporter was asked to leave the grounds. Students in the backyard tossed a football around as investigators did their work.
FBI and district attorney’s office detectives also were at a yeshiva at 72 Route 306, a dark brick building with a small circular driveway.
The FBI-led raids are part of an investigation into whether Rockland yeshivas properly spent money obtained through the federal government’s E-Rate program, which came into existence in 1998 and today allocates more than $4 billion annually for computer and Internet access across the nation. Some of the raids were also carried out in the ultra-Orthodox community of Kiryas Joel in Orange County.
In a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said: “Today, the FBI, working with our office, conducted searches in connection with an ongoing fraud investigation. If and when charges are filed, they will eventually become public. This remains an ongoing matter, and we are unable to provide any additional information at this time.”
(hat tip: Testing123)
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this. It was only in December 2014 when Chabad of California’s head, Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, was found to have misused federal funds.