FaithWorld

U.S. personal trainer admits guilt in violent Jewish divorce scheme

By Reuters Staff
March 7, 2014

(Orthodox Jewish wedding with chupah in Vienna’s first district, close to Judengasse, January 2007/Gryffindor)

A New York personal trainer pleaded guilty on Thursday to being part of a New Jersey ring that used violence to coerce Jewish husbands to agree to grant their wives religious divorces, federal prosecutors said.

David Hellman, 31, was one of 10 men, including two Orthodox Jewish rabbis, arrested last fall in the alleged scheme in which they hired themselves out to unhappy wives who wanted their husbands kidnapped and beaten until they agreed to divorce, the prosecutors in New Jersey said.

Hellman was charged with “traveling in interstate commerce to commit extortion,” and the others were charged with kidnapping, according to government documents.

Orthodox Jewish women cannot get divorces unless their husbands consent through a document known as a “get,” and wives paid tens of thousands of dollars to the ring that would abduct and beat their husbands, prosecutors said at the time of the arrests in October.

Hellman, of Brooklyn, New York could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 at his June 12 sentencing.

Read the full story by Dave Warner here.

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