North York resident accused in $60 million Holocaust fraud
A North York woman has been accused by the United States Attorney’s Office in connection with a fraud scheme that diverted $57.3 million US away from Holocaust survivors.
Luba Kramrish is one of more than 30 conspirators linked by the FBI to a scheme that took funds from the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany — a German non-profit organization that aids victims of Nazi persecution — by submitting fraudulent claims.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Kramrish, a resident of a small Russian Jewish community located just south of Steeles Avenue, filed false claims to the organization on behalf of her mother and up to 25 others who did not meet criteria for the program (criteria include financial hardship common to the elderly). With the help of a corrupt caseworker at the organization’s Manhattan office, the claimants’ dates and histories were systematically doctored to qualify for compensation through its Hardship Fund and Article 2 Fund.
Many of the recipients involved in the decade-long conspiracy were born after the Second World War, and at least one person was not even Jewish, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The two accused then allegedly collected cuts on the resulting payouts, ranging from around $400 to $3,500 US apiece.
According to witness testimonies obtained by the FBI, Kramrish would allegedly prey on applicants, such as elderly Russians, sometimes even charging them for her “services.” When charges were first laid in the case, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara condemned the actions of those connected to the case in a 2010 statement:
“If ever there was a cause that you would hope and expect would be immune from base greed and criminal fraud, it would be the Claims Conference, which every day assists thousands of poor and elderly victims of Nazi persecution,” he said. “Sadly, those victim funds were themselves victimized.”
Kramrish’s criminal defence lawyer, David Rose, said that, given his client’s recent U.S. indictment, she would not be making a statement at this time.