Another guilty plea in violent extortion scheme forcing gets

(JTA) — Another man has pleaded guilty to being part of a violent extortion ring forcing Jewish husbands to give their wives religious divorces.

Simcha Bulmash, 30, of Brooklyn, N.Y., pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Trenton, N.J., according to the U.S.  Justice Department.

Bulmash, who is free on bail, faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of $250,000 when he is sentenced in July.

At least three other members of the ring have pleaded guilty in recent weeks and face the same punishments.

Several men, including two Orthodox rabbis, were arrested last October as part of an FBI sting operation. The ring charged some $60,000 for its services.

According to a complaint filed in court, the men kidnapped and beat up recalcitrant husbands until they agreed to the religious divorce.

Orthodox Jewish women cannot remarry without a get, or writ of divorce, granted by a rabbinical court, which requires the husband’s consent. Some husbands and wives withhold a get in order to gain more favorable terms for alimony or custody of children.

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