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Muscle Men in Jewish Divorce Scheme Headed to Jail

Two New York men are going to prison for their roles in a strong-arm scheme to force a Jewish man to give his wife a religious divorce.

David Hellman, 33, and Simcha Bulmash, 32, who pleaded guilty, were sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in prison, federal prosecutors said.

They are the latest members of a cabal led by a New York rabbi that took cash payments in exchange for securing divorce papers through decidedly unorthodox means: abductions, cattle prods, handcuffs, and plastic bags over the heads of reluctant spouses, court papers say.

"Under certain conditions the person can be coerced to give the get," Wolmark was caught saying on tape. He has since pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

One member of the so-called "divorce gang" boasted that they had kidnapped a recalcitrant husband every year to 18 months.

Wolmark and the others were charged after an FBI sting operation.

In 2013, Hellman, Bulmash and others traveled from New York to New Jersey — violating federal law by crossing state lines — for a meeting in a warehouse with the brother of a woman who wanted a divorce.

The "brother" was actually an undercover agent who recorded them discussing a plan to kidnap and threaten the husband into providing a "get" to his wife, as required by Jewish law for a divorce.

Hellman and Bulmash also admitted in court that two years earlier they had assaulted another husband, this time in Brooklyn, to extort a get.

Four other accomplices have also pleaded guilty and three others were convicted at trial.