QUEENS — A Forest Hills man stole $56,000 in Holocaust survivor benefits after presenting falsified documents to the German government claiming that his deceased mother was still alive, the Queens District Attorney’s office said.
Gary Jacoby, 61, who was charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument, had fabricated documents stating that his mother, Laura Jacoby, was still alive for four years after her death.
According to the Queens DA’s office, Laura Jacoby died in January 2008 at Forest Hills Hospital at age 93.
Laura Jacoby was a Holocaust survivor, and as such she was entitled to receive a pension from the German government. The Queens DA's office did not have specific details about her experiences during the war.
In order to continue to receive the benefits from the German Pension Insurance Company, survivors must complete forms every year, Queens prosecutors said.
Gary Jacoby conspired with notary Frederico Goldwurm, who certified the fraudulent documents every year, according to the criminal complaint. Goldwurm could not be reached for comment.
In 2012, Jacoby even went to the German Embassy in New York, to tell officials that his mother was still alive. The embassy did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
In total, between February 2008 and February 2012, Jacoby collected $56,932, Queens prosecutors said.
The Queens DA's office said prosecutors learned about the alleged fraud from the German Pension Insurance Company.
Jacoby was arraigned Thursday evening at Queens Criminal Court. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison. He was released without bail and is due back in court on October 14.
Jacoby’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.