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Dozen members of Brooklyn family charged with defrauding banks of $20 million

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NEW YORK N.Y. (Reuters) – A dozen members of a Brooklyn family were among 15 people charged in New York federal court Thursday with being part of a conspiracy to inflate their incomes to obtain $20 million in real estate loans and understate it to the government for welfare benefits.

Real estate developer Irving Rubin, his wife, three brothers and two sons, among others, were accused by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan of a “prince or pauper” scheme.

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According to the indictment, the defendants misrepresented their income and assets to acquire $20 million in loans for properties in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Monroe, New York since 2004 and defrauded the government of $700,000 in food stamps and other welfare benefits.

Thirteen of the defendants were arrested Thursday in a coordinated action across at least three properties in Brooklyn, the government said.

The 21 charges also include bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara said that the defendants alternately played the parts of prince or pauper, depending on which scam was being perpetrated.

Yehuda and Rachel Rubin, for example, allegedly claimed a total income of $180 per month to receive government benefits. But when they applied for loans amounting to over $1 million dollars, they reported total income of $31,000 per month.

Samuel Rubin is accused of receiving over $7 million in loans by claiming to make $350,000 annually, despite obtaining welfare benefits with a claimed income of about $20,000 per year.

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The majority of those loans were never repaid, authorities said.

Real estate lawyer Martin Kofman was also indicted for facilitating the fraudulent loan applications and distributing the money to the other members of the conspiracy. Appraiser Pinchus Glauber allegedly inflated property values to help the defendants qualify for further loans.

FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said he hoped that the charges “remind those who poke holes in our government safety net and exploit gaps in the mortgage and banking sectors that they will face the errors of their ways.”

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The prosecution is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s White Plains Division.


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Cincinnati sheriff deputies replace American flag at the Justice Center with ‘thin-blue-line’ flag

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Cincinnati police were filmed replacing the American flag that hangs over the Justice Center in Ohio's third-largest city. They then replaced it with the thin-blue-line flag, that was created to advocate for law-enforcement during Black Lives Matter Protests.

During the Charlottesville, Virginia riots, right-wing and white supremacist activists carried the thin-blue-line flag along with the Confederate flag to speak out against Black Lives Matter.

While the flag may have been created in support of law enforcement, it has been adopted by white supremacists and taken on a darker meaning.

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WATCH: DC protesters turn over ‘agitator’ to police — then the agitators try to start a fight with cops

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Protesters in Washington, D.C. were captured on video handing over an agitator to police, while other agitators in paintball tactical gear appeared to try and start fights with police.

Former FBI assistant director of counterintelligence, Frank Figliuzzi, revealed that his former colleagues and law enforcement he knows recognize that far-right agitators are attempting to start significant conflicts between police and protesters.

"There is a minimal presence of Antifa, but a far more disturbing presence of right-wing race-based hate groups, such as the Boogaloo Boys who think there will be a race-based civil war coming," he said on MSNBC.

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Trump could use Antifa conspiracy theories to ‘investigate his political opponents’: Ex-FBI assistant director

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According to former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi, there are far more white supremacists and anti-government agitators infiltrating the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests than Antifa. He fears Trump will use Antifa as an excuse to investigate his political opponents.

Speaking to MSNBC on Sunday evening, Figliuzzi told host Brian Williams that his sources in law enforcement are telling him that President Donald Trump doesn't have his facts straight on Antifa.

"We're seeing components of legitimate frustrated protesters responding to Mr. Floyd's demise and others," explained Figliuzzi. "Then we are seeing people who are exploiting this for their own purposes, and some of them are more than just opportunistic criminals. Some of them are organized, and some of them have diverse agendas but are coming together to wreak havoc. And I think what we need to pay attention to here is what we have evidence of, what we don't have evidence of, and what we're hearing from the White House and the attorney general."

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