Last week, at the sentencing hearing of Chasidic developer Shalom Lamm, who was convicted of conducting a voter fraud scheme in the town of Bloomingburg, located in upstate New York, Federal Judge Vincent L. Briccetti called his crime particularly “brazen.”
Lamm, his co-defendant Kenneth Nakdimen, who was sentenced to six months in federal prison in September and several others put toiletries into unoccupied apartments to make it seem as though falsely reported voters were actually living in them. This was part of a larger scheme to get approval for Lamm’s giant housing project.
On Thursday, December 7, Lamm was given a sentence of 10 months in prison, 400 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine by Judge Briccetti. In January, Lamm is ordered to start serving his sentence.
Briccetti disregarded several letters he received that vouched for Lamm, and in a scorching statement the judge read, he called out Lamm for a “brazen attempt to corrupt the electoral process.” Briccetti said, “Good deeds are not more important than the crime itself. What about compassion for your neighbors? This case is about the lack of compassion for your neighbors. Neighbors be damned. Why? To make millions.”
Other claims made by Lamm’s lawyers that it was Sullivan County’s anti-Chasidic sentiment of which Lamm was a victim that led him to take such actions, were also rejected by Briccetti. The judge said, “You did not do this because of discrimination, but because the adverse economic impact was far more important than anti-Hasidism.”
Last December, the Chesnut Ridge development’s owners Lamm and Nakdimen along with businessman Volvy Smilowitz, were all indicted on charges of conspiring to corrupt the electoral process. Part of the indictment read, “The defendants hoped to make hundreds of millions from their real estate projects [in Bloomingburg.] When met with resistance rather than seek to advance their real estate projects through legitimate means, the defendants instead decided to corrupt the electoral process in Bloomingburg by falsely registering voters and paying bribes for voters who would elect public officials favorable to their projects.”
According to the Times Herald-Record, Lamm said at his sentencing, “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.”
By Rachel Shapiro