Claims fraudster jailed

By Dan Friedman, November 7, 2013

Semen Domnitser, ringleader of a decade-long, multi-million dollar fraud against the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, was sentenced to eight years in prison in a Manhattan federal court on Monday.

Since at least 2001, when an anonymous letter alerted the leadership of the organisation to the fraud, Domnitser headed a group of employees, runners and recruiters that solicited and processed fraudulent claims for compensation.

Money was collected from two separate restitution funds run by the Claims Conference and funded by the German government: the Hardship Fund and the Article 2 Fund.

Two other members of the fraud ring were tried and convicted along with the 55-year-old Domnitser in May, while 28 others pleaded guilty.

Prosecutors believe that the fraud may have started as early as 1994 when Domnitser was a caseworker. But by the time the FBI was finally notified in 2009, investigators estimated that Domnitser, by then the programme director, had processed around 4,000 fraudulent claims worth $57m.

Last updated: 5:45pm, November 7 2013