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



Claims Conference Faces Questions Over $7 Million Fraud


After discovering $7 million in fraudulent payments, the Claims Conference is facing questions about whether it will recover the money and how extensive the fraud actually was.


Officials at the Claims Conference, which acts as a pass-through to distribute more than $400 million per year from Eastern European governments directly to survivors, discovered last year that it had paid out at least $7 million in pension payments dating back as far as 1980 to 202 imposters who used fraudulent documents to file claims for payments.


The Claims Conference notified the recipients earlier this month that their payments were being suspended and that they had 90 days either to return all the money they had received or appeal the suspension. Some 40 people have responded, with about half saying they wanted to return the money and half asking for appeals, according to the Claims Conference.


It is not clear what, if any, criminal charges they will face.


“Criminal activity is not a matter for the Claims Conference,” Gregory Schneider, its executive vice president, told JTA. “We reserve the right to go after them in civil court for the return of money.”


Claims Conference officials first noticed last November that several claimants had falsified information to receive payments from the Hardship Fund, an account established by the German government to give one-time payments of roughly $3,000 to those who fled the Nazis as they moved east through Germany.


A further internal investigation revealed that more fraudulent claimants received payments from the organization’s Article 2 fund, through which the German government gives pension payments of roughly $375 per month to those who spent either six months minimum in a concentration camp or at least 18 months in a Jewish ghetto, in hiding or living under a false identity to avoid the Nazis.


Conference officials said they immediately notified the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and discussed the matter in meetings with the German government. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Claims Conference are continuing to investigate the matter.


“We are determined to get to the bottom of this,” Schneider said. “We have worked very closely with law enforcement, and on a regular basis they are in touch with us.”


In total, the Claims Conference has made pension payments to more than 160,000 people in 78 countries on behalf of the Germans since the start of the Hardship Fund in 1980 and the Article 2 fund in 1995. The organization now is reviewing each of the recipients, comparing the information it has from the fraudulent claims, such as where the claims were made, to all other claims, going case by case through all their case histories.


The 202 suspects come from reviewing “thousands” of recipients, according to a Claims Conference official, but it expects to find more as the organization reviews the entire caseload.


Payments are made from Claims Conference’s offices in Frankfurt, Tel Aviv and New York, but thus far all the suspected fraud was processed through the New York office. The discovery led to the firing of two case workers and one supervisor in that office. Schneider would not comment on whether the employees were under criminal investigation.


The fraud was reported in the New York Jewish Week just before the Claims Conference board of directors held their annual meetings in New York two weeks ago.


At the meetings, the board approved a $500,000 reserve fund “as a contingency to cover potential expenses associated with investigating the fraud and recovering the funds,” according to a spokesperson for the Claims Conference.


The board also has spent some money on public relations services from the high-profile firm Howard Rubenstein; Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman described the sum as “minimal.”


The Claims Conference makes several kinds of payments. Most of the money it handles are pass-through payments from the German government to Nazi victims. The organization handled about $418 million in such payouts in 2009, and some $4 billion since 1980 from agreements negotiated between the German government and the Claims Conference acting as the representative of Nazi victims and the Jewish people. This is where the $7 million fraud was discovered.


In addition, the Claims Conference decides on how to distribute money each year from the sale of heirless Jewish property in the former East Germany. That money is distributed using a formula in which 80 percent goes to organizations that aid survivors and 20 percent to programs involved in Holocaust education, documentation and commemoration.


Over the past few years, however, as the Claims Conference upped the payouts from this fund – in 2010, the organization is set to distribute $136 million – the Holocaust education portion was capped at $18 million. The Claims Conference has about $1.16 billion from this fund earmarked for future payments.


The organization also distributes other monies negotiated from European governments for such issues as home care for needy, ailing survivors. The Claims Conference will distribute about $80 million in such funds this year, officials said.


“The Claims Conference has a 59-year history of working with the German government,” Schneider said. “During this time, the Claims Conference has continuously negotiated for the rights of Holocaust victims, establishing compensation funds and obtaining expansions of existing programs.”


He added, “While all understand that money can never truly compensate Holocaust victims for their suffering, the German government has assumed responsibility throughout the decades and acknowledged its obligation to survivors. The Claims Conference believes that the German government will continue to honor this obligation as long as Nazi victims remain alive.”

(JTA)

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.

No Responses to “Claims Conference Faces Questions Over $7 Million Fraud”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
An IAF fighter jet on the way to a mission.
Israel Confirms: 3 Top Hamas Military Commanders Killed in Gaza
Latest News Stories
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.

Rocket remainder

11:00am Negev, Be’er Sheva 10:59am 08-21-2014 Negev 10:59am 08-21-2014 Beer Sheva / Gilat, Hatzerim, Negev 10:59am 08-21-2014 Beer Sheva/Ofakim, Beer Sheva / Gilat, Hatzerim, Negev 10:59am 08-21-2014 Beer Sheva/Ofakim, Patish/Orim, Beer Sheva / Gilat, Hatzerim, Negev 10:59am 08-21-2014 Beer Sheva/Ofakim, Beer Sheva / Gilat, Hatzerim, Negev 10:59am 08-21-2014 Hatzerim, Negev 10:59am 08-21-2014 Hatzerim 10:47am Rocket […]

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.

11:06pm Sapir, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Gaza border, Ashkelon, Ashkelon, Ashkelon 10:17pm Kerem Shalom 9:04pm Ashkelon Coast 8:49pm Eshkol 8:12pm Eshkol 7:47pm Eshkol 7:44pm A Hamas spokesperson has warned airlines to not fly into Ben-Gurion starting 6am tomorrow (Thursday), according to a YNet report. It’s actually things like that that makes Israel hit Hamas even harder. 7:35pm Kerem […]

More Articles from Jacob Berkman

After discovering $7 million in fraudulent payments, the Claims Conference is facing questions about whether it will recover the money and how extensive the fraud actually was.

After discovering $7 million in fraudulent payments, the Claims Conference is facing questions about whether it will recover the money and how extensive the fraud actually was.

Bernard Madoff was sentenced Monday to 150 years in jail, the maximum allowed for his crimes.

U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin during the sentencing called Madoff’s crimes “staggering.”

Bernard Madoff was sentenced Monday to 150 years in jail, the maximum allowed for his crimes.
U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin during the sentencing called Madoff’s crimes “staggering.”

Three of the largest local Jewish federations in the United States announced significant layoffs during the past two weeks, raising concerns about the future health of the country’s main Jewish charitable network.

Three of the largest local Jewish federations in the United States announced significant layoffs during the past two weeks, raising concerns about the future health of the country’s main Jewish charitable network.

The Yeshiva Elementary School, an Orthodox institution in Miami Beach with about 450 students, was in dire straits in late 2008. It was behind on payroll, in significant debt and facing financial collapse.

The Yeshiva Elementary School, an Orthodox institution in Miami Beach with about 450 students, was in dire straits in late 2008. It was behind on payroll, in significant debt and facing financial collapse.

    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/claims-conference-faces-questions-over-7-million-fraud-2/2010/07/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: