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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776
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Ringleader Found Guilty in $57M Fraud at Claims Conference

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Semen Domnister, the former Claims Conference employee who was charged with leading a $57 million fraud scheme at the Holocaust restitution organization, was found guilty Wednesday by a U.S. District Court jury in Manhattan after a four-week trial.

Domnitser and two others, Oksana Romalis and Luba Kramrish, were found guilty on all counts., and 28 others charged in the fraud scheme have pleaded guilty.

“To have it all come to closure is extraordinarily important,” Greg Schneider, the executive vice president of the Claims Conference, told JTA. “We’re obviously very happy that justice has been served, but focus on the needs of Holocaust survivors has always been our main priority.”

The fraud was discovered in 2009 and dated back to 1993. It involved falsifying applications to the Hardship Fund, an account established by the German government to provide one-time payments of approximately $3,360 to those who fled the Nazis as they moved east through Germany, and the Article 2 Fund, through which the German government gives pension payments of approximately $411 per month to needy Nazi victims who spent significant time in a concentration camp, in a Jewish ghetto in hiding or living under a false identity to avoid the Nazis.

Jury deliberations Wednesday took just a few hours.

JTA

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