Washington, Sep 8 (IANS) An Israel-based rabbi and his accomplice were arrested in New York in connection with a plot to kidnap and murder a man whose wife wanted to divorce him, police officials said.
Rabbi Aharon Goldberg, 55, and Shimen Liebowitz, 25, were taken into custody in Central Valley, New York, while meeting to discuss the plot on Tuesday, the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office said in a statement on Wednesday.
The prosecutors said that Liebowitz and Goldberg recruited an individual to carry out the crimes and force the man to issue a document called a “get” to allow his wife to divorce him, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The group discussed kidnapping, torturing and forcing the “get” from the target while the intended victim was in the US or on a planned trip to Ukraine, prosecutors said. As the plotting continued, the group decided they wanted the victim murdered as well.
In total, the pair paid the informant around $60,000 to carry out the kidnapping and murder.
They were charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and conspiracy to commit murder for hire.
According to prosecutors, a Jewish woman cannot get a religious divorce unless her husband consents through a “get”. Without the document, a separation can only occur if the husband dies.
Prosecutors also said that the recruit contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in July about the plot and began recording their conversations.