Ex-Claims Conference caseworker sentenced to jail, must pay restitution

(JTA) — A former caseworker for the Claims Conference was sentenced to prison and ordered to make restitution for her role in a fraud scam.

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Polina Breyter, 69, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in New York to 18 months in federal prison for her participation in the nearly $60 million scam against the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, or Claims Conference. She also must pay back $500,000.

Breyter pleaded guilty in May to mail fraud.  Thirty-one people have been charged in the scam, and 18 have pleaded guilty.

The inquiry into the fraud at the Claims Conference, which has been carried out by Claims Conference officials along with the FBI, was discovered in November 2009 but dated back at least to 1993. The investigation has uncovered 3,839 false claims with the Hardship Fund and 1,112 false claims with the Article 2 fund.

Germany created the Hardship Fund to provide one-time payments of approximately $3,500 to Jews who fled the Nazis as they swept through Europe. The Article 2 fund, also funded by Germany, pays monthly pensions of about $400 to victims of Nazi persecution who meet criteria related to time spent in a concentration camp and current income levels.

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