Heinous Crime: Stealing Money from Holocaust Survivors


If you didn't think a scam could match Bernie Madoff's for its audacity, here's one that could measure up -- stealing money intended for needy Holocaust survivors.

And to make matters worse, it was employees who were supposed to distribute the money who stole it instead.

Seventeen employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany were charged Tuesday with allegedly taking $42.5 million from two funds that were set up to provide money to the survivors.

One fund gives a one-time payment of $3,600 to Jews who fled Nazi persecution. The other fund was set up in 1995 and provides a stipend of $411-a-month to impoverished Jews who spent time in a concentration camp or lived in a Jewish ghetto.

The scammers submitted fraudulent applications in exchange for a percentage of the money disbursed. One of those charged was Semyon Domnister, the director of the funds until he was fired in February.

Officials at The New York-based group contacted the FBI last December when they suspected someone was stealing money.


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