A Lakewood man admitted in federal court Tuesday that he carried out a kidnap-for-hire plot in order to force an Orthodox Jewish man to grant his wife a religious divorce, known as a "get" in the Orthodox community, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
David Wax, 51, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson to a charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
Wax admitted to an October 2010 plot to force the victim, whose name was not identified in court records, to grant his wife the "get" in order to allow her leave their marriage. The family of the wife – whose name was also withheld – reportedly paid Wax approximately $100,000
to obtain the get, which is granted in the form of a signed religious document. Wax's co-conspirators, who were not named, received approximately $50,000.
Under the pretense that the victim would work on Talmudic books that Wax was publishing, the victim was lured to Wax's Lakewood home, at which point he was brought upstairs, blindfolded, handcuffed, and bound – then assaulted until he provided the document.
The conspiracy to commit kidnapping charge carries a potential life prison sentence and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, Fishman's office said in a statement.
Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 19.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, for the investigation leading to Tuesday’s guilty plea.