web analytics
August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



JTA EXCLUSIVE

Top Claims Conference Officials Botched Probe of 2001 Fraud

“A majority of the claims made by the person who wrote the anonymous letter were refuted by Mr. Domnitser,” the report said.
By:
Claims Conference board chairman Julius Berman

Claims Conference board chairman Julius Berman

The Claims Conference in recent days has blamed a now-dead regional director for bungling an early warning in 2001 about a massive fraud scheme that wasn’t halted until 2009.

But a document obtained by JTA shows top conference officials were sufficiently concerned by the allegations that they launched their own probe in 2001 that failed to detect the scheme. Those involved in the second investigation included the organization’s chief professional at the time, Gideon Taylor, and its counsel, Julius Berman.

The probe resulted in an eight-page report that raised questions about the handling of several fraudulent cases by Semen Domnitser, a Claims Conference employee who was found guilty on March 8 of orchestrating the $57 million scheme.

The revelation of the report leaves unanswered the question of whether Claims Conference leaders showed gross negligence in failing to detect the fraud, as some critics contend, or whether Domnitser, who was questioned in the two 2001 probes, was such a shrewd operator that Claims Conference officials couldn’t help but be fooled.

The first probe was sparked by an anonymous letter in June 2001 alleging that five fraudulent claims had been approved for restitution payments. The letter reached the director of the Claims Conference office in Germany, Karl Brozik, who conducted an assessment that included questioning Domnitser about his handling of the claims.

Domnitser responded to Brozik by fax, acknowledging some inadvertent errors but lying about other facts to cover up his criminality. Brozik shared Domnitser’s responses with the staffer he had assigned to look into the matter, who marked them up with a lot of question marks. But there is no evidence in the public record indicating that the inquiry was taken further, and last week Claims Conference spokeswoman Hillary Kessler-Godin blamed Brozik, who died in 2004, for failing to pursue the matter.

However, it turns out that the Claims Conference’s top leaders launched a second probe of their own.

The investigation was assigned to a paralegal at Berman’s law office, Kaye Scholer LLP, who went to the Claims Conference office in New York on Aug. 27, 2001 to review the five fraudulent claims and question Domnitser.

The paralegal, Ryan Tan, produced a report that Berman sent to Taylor on Sept. 5, 2001. The report, a copy of which was obtained by JTA, raised questions about Domnitser’s handling of the fraudulent cases but did not suggest Domnitser was party to fraud.

“A majority of the claims made by the person who wrote the anonymous letter were refuted by Mr. Domnitser,” the report said. “However, the accusations did raise further questions about the way the cases were handled by the Conference.”

In reference to one case, Tan writes: “Mr. Domnitser has indicated that a caseworker named Voskreskney also handled the case, but no signature or stamp bearing that person’s name appear on the file. Further inquiry is needed in this case. An interview with [Claims Conference caseworker] Krylyak may clarify some of the discrepancies in this matter.”

Another case involved Mariya Fortel, the sister of Polina Berenson, a Claims Conference employee who this March pleaded guilty to participating in the fraud. After noting that Fortel received payment from two separate restitution funds in violation of the rules, Tan writes, “Because the Conference does not allow the applicants to receive both funds, Mr. Domnitser explained during the interview that Fortel had to forfeit the DM 5,000 that she obtained from the Hardship Fund. Unfortunately, the file does not contain a record that this money was ever given back or deducted.”

The report contains no smoking gun fingering Domnitser as perpetrating the fraud, and it’s not clear how common allegations of fraud were at the Claims Conference. However, the report demonstrates that the organization’s top leaders considered the matter sufficiently alarming that they had an outsider conduct an independent probe even after an internal inquiry had been conducted two months earlier.

Despite whatever actions Berman and Taylor took after receiving the Kaye Scholler report, Domnitser and his cronies managed to fleece the Claims Conference of millions more for another eight years.

In an email to JTA, Taylor blamed Brozik for dropping the ball, saying Brozik oversaw the review of the allegations in the 2001 letter and was sent the Kaye Scholer report.

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.

11 Responses to “Top Claims Conference Officials Botched Probe of 2001 Fraud”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A house sustained a direct hit Thursday, August 21, 2014 in a shelling barrage from Gaza. Miraculously, no one was home.
1 Israeli Wounded in Eshkol Rocket Barrage
Latest News Stories
Rocket remainder

12:00pm Beer Sheva/Ofakim 12:00pm Beer Sheva/Ofakim, Patish/Orim 11:59am Beer Sheva/Ofakim, Negev, Patish/Orim 11:59am Beer Sheva/Ofakim, Negev 11:59am Negev 11:57am Nachal Oz 11:56am Nir Oz / Ein HaShlosha 11:51am Hulda 11:23am Nir Oz 10:59am Negev 10:59am Beer Sheva / Gilat, Hatzerim, Negev 10:59am Beer Sheva/Ofakim, Beer Sheva / Gilat, Hatzerim, Negev 10:59am Beer Sheva/Ofakim, Patish/Orim, Beer […]

A house sustained a direct hit Thursday, August 21, 2014 in a shelling barrage from Gaza. Miraculously, no one was home.

One Israeli is in fair condition after he was wounded in a rocket attack on Eshkol Thursday morning.

Smoke rising over Rafah. Top Hamas commander Raed al-Attar was killed late Wednesday night in an air strike in Rafah with two other Hamas commanders.

Raed al-Attar was an extremely dangerous, sophisticated Hamas terrorist. But he is dead.

Royal Jordanian Airlines has again canceled flights to Tel Aviv over fears of rocket fire from Hamas.

IAF fighter pilots eliminate 20 terror targets in Gaza since midnight, killing six in the region.

Three top Hamas military commanders were killed in overnight air strike by the Israel Air Force, the Shin Bet has confirmed.

Ramallah-based PFLP head Khalida Jarrar was “deported” to Jericho by IDF troops on Wednesday for incitement against Mahmoud Abbas.

Pro-Hamas activists hung a 200 foot PA flag from the Brooklyn Bridge.

A suspected car bomb caused police to evacuate the campus.

Pro-Israel Jewish student assaulted by ‘pro-Palestinian’ student at Temple University

There was a failed secret US mission earlier this summer to rescue American hostages in Syria.

The Islamic State is getting a lot of bad publicity lately, which actually proves how successful they are.

Islamic terror coming soon to your favorite neighborhood street theater.

Netanyahu, Ya’alon and Gantz’s comments: War until there is total quiet and everyone can sleep at night.

The ZIM ship was quickly and efficiently unloaded – despite the best efforts by the Jihadi supporters to block it.

More Articles from JTA
Al Qaeda has hung a death sentence over the head of Warren Weinstein.

Al Qaeda wants the US to free terrorists in return for freeing Warren Weinstein.

Undercover police officers arrest a Haredi demonstrator during a protest at the Bar Ilan intersection in Jerusalem Sunday.

At least six Haredi protesters were arrested and a police officer was wounded in demonstrations in at least three Israeli cities Sunday following the arrest of a yeshiva student for ignoring a draft notice. Hundreds of protesters blocked busy intersections in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Modiin Illit and Beit Shemesh. The yeshiva student has been arrested […]

Police in Melbourne arrested seven pro-Palestinian protesters who stormed the roof of an Israel-based company.

Violent assaults on Jews are becoming more common around the world.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

There is nothing like a quaint tradition of pogroms to insist that hate language is not harmful.

Freedom of speech does not demand that one has to prove the freedom to show one’s ignorance.

Rabbi Raksin’s funeral was in North Miami Beach , and he will be buried in New York on Mnday.

    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/top-claims-conference-officials-botched-probe-of-2001-fraud/2013/05/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: