Three Men, including a Rabbi, plead guilty to kidnap and murder for hire plot of a man who refused his wife a “get”


Three men, including a Rabbi, have been sentenced in a kidnapping and murder plot of a husband who refused to give his wife an Orthodox Jewish religious divorce, known as a “get.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday the sentencing in the murder-for-hire scheme that shocked the religious community of Kiryas Joel.

Aharon Goldberg, of Israel, Rabbi Shimen Liebowitz, of Monroe, and Binyamin Gottlieb, of Airmont, devised a plot to force a man to divorce his wife under Jewish law, according to Joon Kim, the acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The trio were sentenced after pleading guilty to their roles in planning and covering up a scheme to kidnap and kill a Hasidic man unwilling to give his wife a religious divorce.

According to the federal complaint, Gottlieb admitted to paying a confidential informant $25,000 to commit murder. Liebowitz and Goldberg also allegedly paid thousands to carry out the scheme. The FBI made the arrests last year.

Those who claim to know Liebowitz allege the rabbi is well-known for intimidating families who marry outside of the main synagogue.

The scheme began in July 2016, when Goldberg and Liebowitz planned the kidnapping of a man who refused to grant a religious divorce to his wife and torture him into doing so, Kim said.

Gottlieb, of Airmont, got them in touch with a private investigator, who they wanted to carry out the kidnapping and torture plot, Kim said. But the investigator, didn’t want to go through with it and turned them over to the FBI.

Rabbi Liebowitz, 26, pled guilty to conspiring to commit extortion, will now spend two years in prison; Goldberg, 56, pled guilty to conspiring to commit kidnapping will serve three years in prison; and Gottlieb plead guilty to helping conceal the plot from law enforcement received one year of probation.