updated 10/20/2009 12:41:36 PM ET 2009-10-20T16:41:36

The central figure in New Jersey's largest corruption probe has pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud and money laundering charges.

Authorities used Solomon Dwek as a cooperating witness after he was accused in 2006 of cheating PNC Bank out of about $22 million.

He's the son of a prominent Monmouth County rabbi. Prosecutors say he deposited two $25 million checks that were drawn on a closed account, then withdrew nearly half the money.

As a witness, Dwek posed as a failed businessman looking to launder money through his contacts in Syrian Jewish enclaves and claimed to be a developer seeking to exchange cash for favors in Hudson County.

The massive corruption probe snared 45 people, including public officials and several rabbis. Six have pleaded guilty.

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