A Brooklyn rabbi running cigarettes out of a Spencer Street warehouse was arrested earlier this month, the Post reports. Twenty six-year-old Meshulam Rothschild, a member of the Pupa Hasidic sect, was selling about 3,600 cartons a week, cheating the state out of $50 for each one. (That’s $180,000 every seven days!) He bought the cigarettes in Virginia and peddled them in Chinatown and elsewhere. Three family members were arrested along with him; he faces up to 15 years in prison.
In total, the Post reports (without specifying a time frame), 23 people have been arrested for running cigarettes, cheating the state out of more than $2 million in taxes. Little of this money has been recovered by authorities.
Some Post commenters see him as a kind of victim of an unfair tax system. “[J]ust a regular guy making money from BLOOMY’S stupidity,” writes one. “[T]his is the result of ‘BLOOM-HITLER’S’ sad attempt to control the people of NYC,” adds another. (Hitler? Really?)