A religious leader and big-time fundraiser for Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been charged with welfare fraud for getting around $30,000 in food stamps.
Yitzchok “Isaac” Sofer, a Hasidic religious leader, hosted a fundraiser for de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign at the same time he was receiving food stamps illegally.
During an FBI investigation, agents found that Sofer has been on food stamps since the beginning of 2010, and received more than $30,000 in benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since 2012, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.
On his food stamp application in 2012, Sofer claimed to make $250 a week, or about $13,000 a year, and that he had no life insurance policy. Investigators discovered, however, that Sofer did have a life insurance policy worth $1 million, and on that application he claimed to make way more than $250 dollars a week.
Sofer got the policy in 2012, however, he listed his income for 2011 at $100,000, and assets at more than $600,000, according to the criminal complaint.
Sofer still has ties with de Blasio’s office, and is listed as a government relations lobbyist for the Central United Talmudic Academy, a religious school group. The academy lobbied City Hall as recently as 2015, New York Daily News reports.
Sofer was released on $250,000 bail after being arraigned Thursday, according to the New York Post.
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