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NY man pleads guilty in NJ in alleged divorce ring

3-6-14

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A Brooklyn man has admitted to traveling to New Jersey to coerce a Jewish man to give his wife a religious divorce – called a ‘get’ – through threats of violence.

The U.S. attorney’s office says David Hellman pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Trenton.

Prosecutors say the 31-year-old personal trainer was part of an alleged plot involving several men, including two rabbis, which arranged religious divorces through torture and kidnapping.

The men were arrested in October 2013 in an undercover operation involving an FBI agent posing as a woman trying to get a divorce, who contacted the rabbis. According to court filings, one rabbi spoke about forcing compliance through “tough guys.”

Hellman is facing up to 20 years in prison at his June 12 sentencing.