"Federal authorities arrested dozens of people today in New York and New Jersey as part of a money laundering and corruption sweep," The Star-Ledger reports. "Those arrested included several New Jersey public officials and rabbis."
The newspaper adds that among those arrested were:
Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, and Jersey City Council President Mariano Vega.
According to the Associated Press:
The federal prosecutor says arrests that are part of the money-laundering investigation include several rabbis in New York and New Jersey.
Update at 4 p.m. ET. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston sums up the story in this report:
Two N.J. Mayors, Rabbis Among 44 Arrested In Corruption Probe
Update at 12:55 p.m. ET: The number of people arrested, authorities now say, is 44. Earlier reports said 30 had been arrested.
Update at 12:40 p.m. ET. As he briefs the news media about the case, acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra is utterings some very quotable quotes:
-- He says the defendants laundered about $3 million in recent years.
-- The public officials allegedly accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from a "cooperating witness."
-- "The politicians willingly put themselves up for sale," Marra says. "Corruption was a way of life" for them and they "existed in an ethics free zone."
Update at noon ET: The Star-Ledger is planning to webcast authorities' news conference (which should start any minute now).
Update at 10:25 a.m. ET: According to the Star-Ledger, the mayors and council president are all Democrats. Another lawmaker who's been arrested, Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, is a Republican.
Update at 10 a.m. ET. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston passes along this statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey.
Approximately 30 arrests have occurred this morning in a two-track federal investigation of public corruption and a high-volume, international money laundering conspiracy. Among those arrested in the public corruption portion of the investigation are the Mayor of Hoboken, Peter Cammarano III, the Mayor of Secaucus, Dennis Elwell, N.J. Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, the Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, Leona Beldini, and many others.
Arrests that are part of the money-laundering portion of the investigation include several rabbis in New York and New Jersey.
A press conference is scheduled for approximately noon today at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark. Court appearances will begin at about 2 p.m. today.
Update at 9:45 a.m. ET. Gannett New Jersey reports that:
The investigation involves the Deal Yeshiva, a religious school which teaches children in the Sephardic Jewish tradition, sources said. The Yeshiva has two separate divisions: a boys' school on Logan Road in Ocean Township and a girls' school on Wall Street in West Long Branch.
The school was founded more than 20 years ago by Rabbi Isaac Dwek and Raizel Dwek, the parents of real estate mogul Solomon Dwek. Rabbi Dwek was the school's president, and Raizel was its treasurer, until 2006, when their son's real estate empire began to crumble after Solomon Dwek deposited a bad $25.2 million check at a drive-through window at the PNC Bank in Eatontown.
Update at 9:25 a.m. ET. The Star-Ledger now writes that:
The arrests are the result of a two-year probe that began with an investigation of money transfers by members of the Syrian enclaves in Deal and Brooklyn. Those arrested this morning include key religious leaders in the tight-night, wealthy communities.
The federal investigation then expanded into a public corruption probe.