web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Claims Conference Employee Admits to Stealing $550K from Survivors, $57 Mil. Missing

Thousands of Holocaust survivors were defrauded out of $57 million by a ring of Claims Conference employees and other individuals.

Thousands of Holocaust survivors were defrauded out of $57 million by a ring of Claims Conference employees and other individuals.
Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90

An employee of the New York based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (the “Claims Conference”) pleaded guilty to defrauding her employers out of $550,000.

Zlata Blavatnik, 65, pleaded guilty to the charge that she had “produced falsified documents for myself” and “helped others in the same office” to make fraudulent “reparation” payments.

A total of 31 people have been charged in connection with the scheme, according to the FBI, including five former employees of the Claims Conference, which administered the programs.

The FBI is charging that, in exchange for kickbacks, those insiders, who were supposed to process and approve only legitimate applications, have knowingly approved nearly 5,000 fraudulent applications, resulting in payouts to applicants who did not qualify for the programs.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told reporters: “As I said when the initial charges in this case were announced, my office, working with our partners at the FBI, would not stop until we brought to justice those who are alleged to have stolen more than $57 million from the Claims Conference, thereby diverting money intended for survivors of the Holocaust.”

Bharara thanked the Claims Conference for “their outstanding, ongoing assistance in identifying the participants in this scheme.”

The Claims Conference, a not-for-profit organization which provides assistance to victims of Nazi persecution, supervises and administers several funds that make reparation payments to victims of the Nazis, including “the Hardship Fund” and “the Article 2 Fund,” both of which are funded by the German government.

Applications for disbursements through these funds are processed by employees of the Claims Conference’s office in Manhattan, and the employees are supposed to confirm that the applicants meet the specific criteria required for payments.

According to the FBI, as part of the scheme, a web of individuals—including five former employees of the Claims Conference—systematically defrauded the Article 2 Fund and Hardship Fund programs for over a decade.

The Claims Conference first suspected the fraud in December 2009, and immediately reported their suspicions to law enforcement, which conducted a wide-reaching investigation, resulting in unsealing the charges last October, 2011.

The Hardship Fund makes a one-time payment of approximately $3,500 to victims of Nazi persecution who evacuated the cities in which they lived and were forced to become refugees. Members of the conspiracy submitted fraudulent applications for people who were not eligible. Many of the recipients of fraudulent funds were born after World War II, and at least one person was not even Jewish.

Some conspirators recruited other individuals to provide identification documents, such as passports and birth certificates, which were then fraudulently altered and submitted to corrupt insiders at the Claims Conference, who then processed those applications. When the applicants received their compensation checks, they kept a portion of the money and passed the rest back up the chain.

From the investigation to date, the Claims Conference has determined that at least 3,839 Hardship Fund applications appear to be fraudulent. These applications resulted in a loss to the Hardship Fund of approximately $12.3 million.

The Article 2 Fund makes monthly payments of approximately $400 to survivors of Nazi persecution who make less than $16,000 per year, and either (1) lived in hiding or under a false identity for at least 18 months; (2) lived in a Jewish ghetto for 18 months; or (3) were incarcerated for six months in a concentration camp or a forced labor camp.

The fraud involved doctored identification documents in which the applicant’s date and place of birth had been changed. The fraud also involved more sophisticated deception, including altering documents that the Claims Conference obtains from outside sources to verify a person’s persecution by the Nazis. Some of the detailed descriptions of persecution in the fraudulent Article 2 Fund applications were completely fabricated.

From the investigation to date, the Claims Conference has determined that at least 1,112 Article 2 Fund cases it processed have been determined to be fraudulent. Those cases have resulted in a loss to the Claims Conference of approximately $45 million.

Manhattan federal Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman on Tuesday informed Blavatnik that she was facing a possible 40 years in jail for conspiracy and mail fraud.

But, according to the NY Post, Judge Pitman did not divulge the terms of Blavatnik’s plea deal, neither would the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office release a copy of the plea, which means that Blavatnik is probably cooperating with authorities in return for leniency in sentencing.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

7 Responses to “Claims Conference Employee Admits to Stealing $550K from Survivors, $57 Mil. Missing”

  1. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    Absolutely sickening.

  2. Jennifer Vaughan says:

    Completely horrific. Bastards with no heart defrauding elderly holocaust survivors.

  3. Rabbi Leon Pettyjohn.

  4. Is money that important them, how could they, this is the lowest of low, Yhese people are the worst of mankind. Shalom

  5. Max Rambow says:

    How long is George Soros going to get away with his theft of Holocaust victims wealth? He seems somehow immune.

  6. Shalom! they have hearts of Selfrightiousness and not a Heart of G-d!

  7. Marcus Aurelius Nussbaum says:

    Blavatnik et al. and their families should all rot in hell…and when they get there, I'll be waiting for them…

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest News Stories
John Kerry

Bibi’s cabinet unanimously rejected Kerry’s ceasefire proposal, but still considering 12-hour break.

IDF Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, hy'd, who fell in action Sunday, July 20, 2014 with six comrades when his APC was hit by an anti-tank missile fired by terrorists in Gaza. Declared dead Friday, July 25, 2014. May God avenge his blood.

Hamas exploited the fog of war: they did not kidnap Shaul Aron, he was killed in action.

A soldier called up to talk to my 5 year old son…

An Arab driver, driving into a group of Jews at a Gush Etzion bus stop.

An Arab driver swerved into a group of women and girls standing at a Gush Etzion Junction (Tzomet HaGush) bus stop.

1st Sgt. Yair Ashkenazi, Reserves, (36) HY”D, was killed this morning during operations in northern Gaza.

11:45am Rocket alerts, including Tel Aviv and Lod. The smell of a Cease fire is in the air. 11:47am 07-25-2014 Ramla, Lod 11:47am 07-25-2014 Tel Aviv – Yafo , Bat Yam, Bnei Brak / Givaatayim / Petach Tikva, Dan coastal plain, Kiryat Ono, Elad, Rosh Ha’yin, Ramla, Lod, Shoham, Kfar Chabad 11:47am 07-25-2014 Tel Aviv […]

Chabad has provided a list of all the soldiers injured so far in Operation Protective Edge, so you can add them to your prayers.

We’re waiting to hear back if there will be a cease fire this afternoon. The terms grant Hamas political legitimacy.

11:10am Massive number of rocket alerts: 11:10am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash 11:09am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash, Ashkelon 11:09am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Ashkelon, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash, Ashkelon 11:09am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Ashkelon, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash, Zikim […]

The IDF has released a list of senior Gazan terrorists who have been taken out…

Thousands of Israelis in Turkey have been trapped there due to the war with Gaza.

Abbas faces the acid test of his clinging to power, but he is forced himself into a lose-lose-corner.

Golani 12 Platoon commander, Shai Siman-Tov, was seriously injured yesterday,

The IDF has begun to systematically tear apart the roots of the Hamas terrorist infrastructure

Amb. Ron Dermer takes on CNN’s coverage of Hamas, and wins.

Hip Hop musicians create a song and video to express how they feel about the current Arab/Israel war.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff Reporter
Temple Mount Contraband

Whether on or off the Temple Mount, the police just seem to love to arrest Rabbi Yehuda Glick.

Pointing the way to Israel's Tax Authority in Jerusalem.

The Israel Tax Authority has reached agreement with the U.S. to coordinate info between the IRS and Israeli banks.

Avraham Ben-Tzvi believes the Eitam hill, Efrat’s only remaining land reserve, must be developed urgently, or the town will lose it for good.

“They have two choices, to live in dignity or die with honor.”

Late last night The Jewish Press attended a phone briefing with IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich. This is a transcript of the conference, with some of the figures updated.

A clip from NBC showing Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman’s parents’ reaction to her uneven bar routine has garnered close to 100,000 hits on You Tube.

The State Dept. press director Patrick Ventrell said, “We’ve seen the reports … but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.”

Following more than three years of investigation, Indian security forces have arrested Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari aka Abu Hamza, alleged member of Lashker-e-Taiba (Army of the Righteous) and the Hindi instructor of 10 terrorists who executed the murderous attack in Mumbai in 2008.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/claims-conference-employee-admits-to-stealing-550k-from-survivors/2012/06/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: