Thursday, May 04, 2006

Deal NJ - $25M Scam Artist

APP: In barely legible scrawl, real estate mogul Solomon Dwek wrote a check for $25,212,076.35 and motored to a drive-up bank window in Eatontown. He handed the check to a teller to deposit in another account he controlled. The check was written on a closed account, the PNC Bank teller told Dwek at 2 p.m. April 24. But Dwek told bank employees he had talked to their corporate office a few minutes earlier to have the account reopened. A wire transfer to cover his millions was occurring that very moment, Dwek asserted. Reassured, the bank allowed Dwek, its customer of five years, to deposit the check. At 8:51 a.m. the next day, Dwek wired away $23 million to pay off loans, using the $25 million deposit. That's the way it happened, according to PNC. The bank says that was the last it saw of its millions. After the bank's repeated requests for the money, Dwek came up with $2.5 million and $600,000 in more bad checks, according to PNC. When Dwek failed to show at two scheduled meetings with bank officials Wednesday, state Superior Court Judge Alexander D. Lehrer, sitting in Freehold, froze all Dwek's assets pending a court hearing May 12. That leaves Dwek, who has an interest in more than 60 properties in Monmouth and Ocean counties and owns nearly 10 percent of Central Jersey Bancorp stock, unable to sell any of his assets. Dwek is 33,according to voting records, and lives in Ocean Township. He is the vice president of the Deal Yeshiva in West Long Branch......According to the bank's court filing, on April 25 Dwek used the bogus deposit to wire $20 million to HSBC Bank to pay a loan to "Franco & Dwek"; $2.2 million to HSBC to repay a loan that bank issued to "Ken Cayre"; $580,000 to Valley National Bank to repay a loan to "Horizon Export"; and $10,000 to Citibank to repay a loan to "Wiggin & Dana." PNC did not further describe the loans. That afternoon, PNC said, Dwek deposited another bad check, this time for $25 million at a bank branch in Asbury Park. PNC employees later reversed that deposit. When PNC contacted Dwek to tell him the second deposit would not be accepted, he "pleaded" for the check go through, the bank said in court papers. The thing most telling for us is that he tried to do the same thing with another $25 million at another branch," lawyer Kearney said.....The Deal Yeshiva, where Dwek is vice president, is a Jewish religious education school that provides religious education for more than 300 students. According to the 2004 federal tax report the nonprofit organization filed in November, Dwek is the highest-paid individual at the school, earning $212,000 that year. The next-highest-paid employee was Dwek's wife, Pearl, who received $106,000 as a secretary. The school, which has preschool through high school students and also offers postgraduate studies, reported $9.9 million in 2004 income.
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