web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



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

Share Button

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.

Share Button

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.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

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
Unit 9900 is an intelligence unit that utilizes the unique capabilities of soldiers on the autism spectrum.
Autism in the IDF: Uniquely Talented Soldiers
Latest News Stories
South Florida teen stabbed in high school gym.

Teen stabbed in South Florida high school.

Birkat Cohanim 2014

The Kotel Plaza, the stairs, the Kotel entrance, the roads, everything was packed for Birkat Cohanim – the Priestly Blessing of the People – now imagine if this had been held on top of Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount!

Arab road terrorists often use huge boulders to create obstacle courses in the road to slow down drivers -- and then hurl huge rocks at their hapless victims in the hope of murdering them.

Four Israeli citizens were hurt Thursday in a road terror attack near Tekoa in Gush Etzion.

Arab rioters hurl objects at Israeli security personnel who use pepper spray to quell the violence emanating from the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.

Israel Police closed access to the Temple Mount to Jews and other non-Muslims on Thursday due to Arab violence.

Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine this week were ordered to “register” themselves and their assets.

U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk is on his way back to the region to revive talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Hebron is proving to be a popular family tourist site during the Passover Holiday.

Hundreds attended the funeral of Police Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrachi, who was slain by terrorists on Passover eve.

A local Jewish merchant was stabbed Monday on the island of Djerba.

The Israeli hi-tech company Matrix has announced it is opening a “massive training center” in Nanjing, China.

Rabbis have been busy with preparations for the traditional Birkat Kohanim, Priestly Blessing, set for Thursday.

The suspect charged in the pre-Passover shooting deaths of three people outside two Kansas Jewish centers is a known white supremacist.

More than 400 people sat down at the first seder this year at the Chabad House of Bangkok, Thailand.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

PM Binyamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinian Authority incitement for the terrorist murder of a police officer on Passover eve.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff Reporter
American oleh Avraham Ben-Tzvi (r.) with Yossi Hess (l.) and Dovi Shefler (c.) campaigning for Efrat town council.

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.

201177

“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.

If official results stand, Mursi will have won Egypt’s first post-uprising elections with 51.89 per cent of the vote, succeeding toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak. The ruling military council will “hand over power” on 30 June.

Zlata Blavatnik, 65, was part of a ring of 31 individuals, including Claims Conference former employees, who, over 10 years, allegedly stole $57 million in German reparation funds intended for Nazi Holocaust victims. Blavatnik is cooperating with the FBI investigation.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    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: