New York divorce mediator pleads guilty in plot to torture men into signing divorce paper

Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “How can an attorney help me with my Divorce or Separation in North Carolina?”


Mediation is supposed to provide the opposing parties in a claim the opportunity to resolve their differences amicably. The actions of a New York divorce mediator, however, have led to far-less-than amicable results, according to federal prosecutors.

People standing around Mecklenburg Divorce Attorney Charlotte Child Custody LawyerOn Wednesday, a New York-based divorce mediator pled guilty to charges stemming from his attempts to strong-arm men into giving their wives a “get.”

The man—White Plains, New York-based Martin Mordechai Wolmark—pled guilty on Wednesday in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, to engaging in a conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce to commit extortion, according to United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

Wolmark and Rabbi Mendel Epstein—described by USA Today as “a prominent ultra-Orthodox divorce mediator from Brooklyn—were accused of leading “a gang of eight thugs” who tortured men into giving their wives a “get.”

According to Jewish law 101, under Jewish Law, a married couple can be released from the bonds of matrimony only if the husband issues “a bill of divorce.” This document—called a “get” in Aramaic, a language commonly used by ancient Jewish tribes—serves functionally as effecting the divorce and as proof of divorce should one or more spouses seek to remarry.

In 2013, Wolmark met with a woman who said she was seeking a divorce from her husband. He convened a rabbinical court—called a “beth din”—in his office in Suffern, New York in which he openly discussed a plan to kidnap and assault the woman’s husband in an effort to coerce him into issuing a “get.” Wolmark did not know that the woman was working with the Federal Bureau of Investigators and was recording the meeting.

After the meeting, agents intercepted a gang of eight men at a warehouse in Edison, New Jersey. The agents seized “masks, a rope, surgical blades, plastic bags and a screwdriver,” according to USA Today. Agents alleged the men had traveled from New York to New Jersey to strong-arm the woman’s “husband” into providing a “get.” Since they traveled over state lines, federal laws were implicated.

Fishman said that six other men, most of whom reside in Brooklyn in New York City, already pleaded guilty to a range of charges connected to the strong-arm plot.

Benjamin Brafman, Wolmark’s attorney, said Wolmark’s participation in the scheme was “limited,” and the mediator had accepted responsibility for his limited role in the plot. Brafman said Wolmark was an extraordinary man who had dedicated his life to assisting others in the divorce process.

Wolmark will not be sentenced until May 18. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.



About the Author

ARNOLD&SMITH_243 3.jpg Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.






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Image courtesy of Ivan Bandura



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