Developer sentenced in scam to build Hasidic Catskills village


(JTA) — A prominent New York Jewish real estate developer, the son of a former Yeshiva University president, was sentenced to 10 months in prison for conspiring to commit voter fraud in an upstate New York village.

Shalom Lamm, 58, also was fined $20,000 and ordered to perform 400 hours of community service at his sentencing last week in Manhattan federal court, The New York Jewish Week reported. Lamm had pleaded guilty in June.

His co-defendant, Kenneth Nakdimen, pleaded guilty a month earlier and was sentenced in September to six months in federal prison.

Lamm, the son of former Yeshiva University President Norman Lamm and a married father of five, was planning to build a 396-unit housing development for Hasidic Jews in Bloomingburg, a village of 400 in the Catskills. As he encountered opposition from locals, Lamm and his colleagues allegedly attempted to commit voter fraud to elect politicians who would back the project.

They were accused of back-dating leases, and putting toothbrushes and toothpaste in apartments to make it seem like the falsely registered voters were living there. The scheme led to 150 new voter registrations, most of them fraudulent.

At the sentencing, Judge Vincent Briccetti called the crime a “brazen attempt to corrupt the electoral process,” according to The Jewish Week. He also dismissed the many letters sent to the court that vouched for Lamm.

“Good deeds are not more important than the crime itself. What about compassion for your neighbors?” Briccetti asked. “This case is about the lack of compassion for your neighbors. Neighbors be damned. Why? To make millions.”

At the sentencing, Lamm expressed regret for his actions. “In 2014, my actions and the actions of others – attempting to interfere with the election in Bloomingburg – the good people of Bloomingburg deserve more than that,” he said, according to the Times Herald-Record.

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