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Justice Department charges 30 with mail fraud in Holocaust fund scam

Eight more people have been charged with mail fraud in connection to a scheme to collect money from a fund meant for Holocaust victims through submitting fraudulent claims. The FBI has been investigating employees at the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany and the alleged fraud since 2009.

The Justice Department has accused 30 people so far of being involved in the submission of thousands of fraudulent claims. The claims go to a "hardship fund" set up to pay $3,500 to people who had to flee from Germany when the Nazis came into power. The Justice Department says that the employees tried to scam the fund in order to receive a portion of the money given to "survivors."

The FBI accuses the employees of submitting false applications for funds. The FBI believes that 3,839 of the applications are fraudulent, which would translate to losses of $12.3 million. The employees are accused of recruiting people of Russian Jewish heritage to submit documents that "proved" they had fled Europe to avoid the Holocaust and Nazi persecution.

The employees then allegedly altered the birthdates on the documents so that it looked like the person was born during the correct time period to have had to flee during WWII or before it began.

Thirty people are charged with taking part in the alleged fraud ring and charged with mail fraud. If convicted of fraud, they could face up to 20 years in prison.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Feds Nab Another Eight in Holocaust Fund Scam," Nick McCann, Oct. 12, 2011

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