Women, Infants and Children

Raids in New Jersey town target ultra-Orthodox Jews accused of welfare fraud. 'What is going on here?'

Raids in New Jersey town target ultra-Orthodox Jews accused of welfare fraud. 'What is going on here?'

It was a spectacle nobody in this sleepy New Jersey town would forget.

Early one Monday morning, police and FBI agents in bulletproof vests bounded up the steps of suburban townhouses and split levels, threatening to break down the doors, hauling out in handcuffs husbands and wives in the distinctive clothing of ultra-Orthodox Jews. One was a prominent rabbi and head of a synagogue.

It was the dramatic kickoff of a series of well-publicized raids that since late June have netted 26 suspects on charges of stealing $2 million in government benefits. Prosecutors say that the suspects understated their income to get free healthcare, food stamps, rental subsidies and other...

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