Seven plead guilty to defrauding federal program that provides technology funding for Rockland County schools

WHITE PLAINS – Seven people have entered guilty pleas on charges that they defrauded the federal “E-Rate” program designed to provide information technology to underprivileged schools, in connection with private religious schools in Rockland County.

Peretz Klein, 66, of Spring Valley; Susan Klein, 59, of Spring Valley; Simon Goldbrenner, 57, of Monsey; Moshe Schwartz, 46, of Monsey; Ben Klein, 41, of Monsey; Sholem Steinberg, 41, of Monsey; and Aron Melber, 44, of Monsey, all previously pled guilty.

The E-Rate program distributes funds to schools and libraries mostly serving economically disadvantaged children so the institutions can afford needed telecommunication services, internet access, and related equipment.

All of the defendants admitted to their role in a scheme that stole millions of dollars from the E-Rate program. 

“That money should have been spent to help educate underprivileged children. Instead, it went to line the defendants’ pockets,” said Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “Now they will answer for their crimes.”

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