More Suspects Charged in Claims Conference Fraud

30 Now Accused of Stealing Estimated $57 Million

By Paul Berger

Published October 12, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Eight more suspects have been charged with taking part in a multimillion dollar fraud against the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, authorities announced today.

The fraud investigation has focused on New York’s Russian-speaking community, which was stunned when 17 people, six Claims Conference employees in a New York processing office and 11 accomplices, were arrested last November.

At the time, authorities believed the fraud totaled about $42.5 million. Now, they estimate the fraud at $57 million, said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Bharara said five of the eight new arrests were former Cl aims Conference employees: Ella Voskresenskiy, 41, Zlata Blavatnik, 64, Viktor Levin, 71, Henry Gordin, 74, and Genrikh Kolontyrskiy, 79. A ninth suspect is expected to be charged soon.

The Claims Conference said two of the five were “terminated” in 2006 and the rest were fired in November last year. They are accused of approving almost 5,000 fraudulent claims in return for kickbacks.

Their arrests, coupled with a handful of new arrests this year, brings the total number of accused to 30. So far, ten people have pleaded guilty to charges related to the fraud.

The scheme, which was uncovered in 2009, was led by Russian-speaking Claims Conference employees who rubber-stamped hundreds of fraudulent claims over more than a decade.

They were aided by so-called “recruiters” who gathered documents from thousands of members of the Russian-speaking community and then had them altered or in some cases forged so that they would comply with compensation requirements set by the German government.

The Claims Conference has sent letters to people it believes to have made fraudulent claims. Suspects can either return the money or appeal.

A Claims Conference spokesman said more than 600 people have agreed to repay about $4.7 million. But so far only $1.7 million has been recovered. The Conference has agreed to accept a further $3 million in installment payments.






Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.