The Jewish Week website reports today (February 13, 2010) that the Claims Conference fired three employees last week who allegedly approved more than 100 fraudulent Holocaust-era claims -- filed primarily by Russian Jews now living in Brooklyn -- that bilked the German government out of more than $350,000.
A federal investigation has been launched, but it is not certain if the employees -- one of whom was supervisor of the Hardship Fund -- were complicit in the fraud. The Claims Conference declined to reveal their names.
"The German government was defrauded," said Gregory Schneider, the Claims Conference's executive vice president. He added, "This was done by very sophisticated persons or a group whose aim it was to defraud. And the fact that it was connected to the Holocaust makes it even more disgusting."
Julius Berman, chairman of the Claims Conference, said he was "outraged that anyone would engage in a fraud of what we consider 'Holy money.'"