WASHINGTON, November 5 (RIA Novosti) – A former administrator at a New York non-profit that distributes reparation payments to survivors of the Holocaust has been sentenced to eight years in prison for running a $57 million scam that recruited Russian immigrants to pose as victims of the Nazis, the US Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara described Semen Domnitser of Brooklyn as “the highest-ranking insider to participate in this despicable fraud against the Holocaust claims conference.” He said Domnitser had “played an integral role in the scheme by processing fraudulent applications to the conference and turning a profit of thousands of dollars for himself.”
Domnitser was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $57.3 million in restitution and ordered to forfeit $59,230 by federal judge Thomas Griesa, the US Attorney’s Office said Monday.
Under the scheme, Domnitser recruited people “mostly in the Russian-Jewish immigrant community” to provide copies of their identification documents in exchange for a promise of money from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, a German government fund providing compensation for victims of the Nazis.
Domnitser and his accomplices then used these documents to make false applications that were doctored to seem eligible – even though some of the recipients of the fraudulent funds were born after World War II, and at least one person was not even Jewish, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
Domnitser and two other accomplices were convicted of conspiracy and mail fraud by a Manhattan jury in May. The other 28 participants accused in the fraud all pleaded guilty, according to the US Attorney’s Office.