American fraudster dies

Chaim Berger, one of the founders of New York’s Hasidic Jewish village of New Square and the mastermind of the theft of millions of dollars in US government subsidies, has died in a prison hospital.

Chaim Berger, one of the founders of New York’s Hasidic Jewish village of New Square and the mastermind of the theft of millions of dollars in US government subsidies, has died in a prison hospital.

Berger, 79, died on Tuesday morning at the Federal Medical Centre in Butner, North Carolina, where he was serving a six-year sentence.

He was buried in New Square, in Rockland County, north-west of New York City, that evening. Rabbi Meyer Schiller, a longtime friend, said Berger had cancer.

The father of six was one of five men who embezzled $11.6m (€9.5m) from government anti-poverty programmes. He fled prosecution in 1997 but was arrested in Israel in 1998 and returned to the United States in 2001 to stand trial.

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