The US Attorneys Office for the District of New Jersey released the following:
A husband and wife from Lakewood, N.J., have been charged for their alleged roles in the kidnapping of an Israeli citizen living in New York in order to coerce his consent to divorce a woman living in Israel, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
David Wax, 49, and Judy Wax, 47, surrendered this morning to special agents of the FBI in Red Bank, N.J. Both defendants are charged with kidnapping; David Wax is also charged with making a threat by phone to the victim’s father.
The defendants are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas Arpert in Trenton federal court.
According to the complaint unsealed today:
The victim and his former wife were engaged in a contested divorce involving child custody issues in a Rabbinical Court in Israel. During the course of those proceedings, the victim moved from Israel to the United States. He refused to give consent for the divorce (referred to as a “get” under Orthodox Jewish law), which would have permitted his former wife to remarry.
Allegedly, on the evening of October 16, 2010, the victim traveled to the residence of David and Judy Wax, under the impression he was invited to discuss work he was doing with David Wax. The complaint states the victim was led upstairs, where he was attacked. While at the Wax home, the victim was beaten, robbed, handcuffed, blindfolded, and his legs and arms were bound. During the several-hour ordeal, the victim’s life was threatened and he was forced to consent to the divorce.
Following the beating, David Wax called a cab to take him and the victim to an ATM. While in the car, David Wax made the victim call his father in Israel. David Wax warned the kidnapping victim’s father that he and the victim would be killed if the father did not pay $100,000 to the family of the victim’s former wife.
Later, the victim and David Wax got into a vehicle driven by Judy Wax, which dropped the victim off in Brooklyn, N.Y. During the ride, David Wax again threatened the lives of the victim and his father.
The kidnapping count with which both defendants are charged carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison. The threatening communications count with which David Wax is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the FBI’s Red Bank Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark; and the Lakewood Police Department, under the direction of Chief Robert Lawson, with the investigation leading to the arrests and charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Davenport of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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