• Sweden's news in English

Bunny pic unmasks Swedish benefits cheat

Charlotte West · 23 Jul 2009, 10:41

Published: 23 Jul 2009 10:41 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The 33-year-old man from Halmstad in western Sweden had claimed for years that he was bound to a wheelchair and as a result qualified for public assistance in the form of payments made to “people in his immediate environment” who helped him with daily tasks.

While the doctor who originally examined the man didn't find any reason as to why the man couldn't walk, the doctor nevertheless accepted the man's claims.

Between November 1st, 2005 and January 31st, 2009, the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) paid the man a total of 3,001,741 kronor ($400,000) in benefits.

But the man's scheme began to unravel back in June 2007 when police raided his home in response to a complaint of abuse and illegal imprisonment.

Among items confiscated by police were several photographs, including a picture of the man dancing with the life-sized bunny which serves as the mascot for the Liseberg amusement park in nearby Gothenburg.

Police then turned over the incriminating photo, along with several others, to the Social Insurance Agency.

“He can stand, walk and dance. In one of the pictures, he is dancing with the Liseberg bunny,” Catharina Andersson of the Halmstad social insurance office told Hallandsposten newspaper.

Upon being confronted with the pictures, the man admitted he was the man in the photo dancing with the fuzzy rabbit.

In his defence, however, he claimed that the picture had been staged because he didn't want to show off his disability.

Story continues below…

But according to Andersson, the 33-year-old can be seen in the photos standing without any support or assistance.

Although prosecutors eventually dropped the original abuse investigation, the man could now face charges of benefits fraud.

Charlotte West (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:05 July 23, 2009 by apostolos1975
So in roughly 3 years + so months the state paid more than 3mkr for benefits+other expenses. Why and where the f***** did all that money go? I guess we will never be able to see an analysis of that amount. But it is insane. I really hope that not every person with benefits costs that much.
13:19 July 23, 2009 by Jenta
"bound to a wheelchair"? Love it!
14:40 July 23, 2009 by mfh4
280,000 Euros for just over 3 years! That's it, I'm coming to Sweden
14:42 July 23, 2009 by Puffin
It's like this in the UK - every week there is a story of someone who has been running marathons or refereeing football maches while allegedly permanently disabled
14:45 July 23, 2009 by Puffin
apparently it is down to the current government's new policy of direct payments - istead of the government/kommun directly providing services the disabled are given the money directly to hire their own personal carers, buy transport and carry out home adaptations - this is where the money went
15:02 July 23, 2009 by bolababu
this should serve as a warning to all those people with imaginary back injuries who claim social benefits at the expense of the tax-payer. I think some suscribers on thelocal should also be investigated as they can sit at their desk for hours talking crap on the internet but can't put in even a couple of hours work a day.
15:43 July 23, 2009 by swamp_guy68
I am a former Insurance Fraud Investigator from the US & live in Sweden now...this type of crime is very common in the US...I am not surprised at this but, glad he was caught...people like "Mr. Wheelchair" cost honest people millions for fake injuries...besides paying the money back this person should serve time for his actions.
01:20 July 24, 2009 by Greg in Canada
"While the doctor who originally examined the man didn't find any reason as to why the man couldn't walk, the doctor nevertheless accepted the man's claims"

What's with the doc? He couldn't find anything wrong but still signed off the "disability". The doctor should have his license pulled.

My wife worked as a kinesiologist for an insurance company. She used to investigate these cases. It's amazing how many "disability" scammers there are out there.
15:07 July 24, 2009 by Carin B Krasno
The man should be put in prison to serve as an example for the rest of the "disability frauds" out there. However, since he has already cost the Swedish taxpayers over 3 million SKr I am not so sure it is the best solution. The cost for a prisoner in Sweden varies from 1200-2000 Skr per day depending on the security level of the prison. Thus, according to my calculations he would cost the taxpayers yet another 3 million SKr within 4-7 years depending on where he is placed. Thus, it wouldn't surprise me if the Swedish Judicial system will let him walk away with slap on his hand. He will be asked to pay back what he owes, but I am guessing that the money is long gone. There is something to be said about "crime doesn't pay"
19:31 July 24, 2009 by bufflo
I've heard of expensive lapdances, but this is one crazy expensive bunny dance!
00:56 July 25, 2009 by Coalbanks
Maybe he can get a job replacing the Dancing Bunny when it goes on vacation? Seriously what about the genuinely disabled persons/persons with disabilities (yes, persons, a noun not "the disabled" an adverb) who can't get services or don't get an adequate amount? As for the MD..."What's Up, Doc?"
01:33 July 25, 2009 by John Doe
For some reason it doesn't smell to me like he's a native swede. More about this case at the following links, but again... the censorship of the damn swedish media...



Quote: "Anledningen att polisen kom över 33-åringens privata bilder var att han blev polisanmäld för misshandel och olaga frihetsberövande i juni 2007."
00:00 July 26, 2009 by grantike
actually disability could not only be to walk it could be mentally disabled.i really think government should run such policy other than making cash payments
00:02 July 26, 2009 by Johnny Salami
Maybe he staged a miraclous, but temporary, recovery.
12:42 July 27, 2009 by Marc the Texan
Of all the ways to get caught, this has to be one of the most humiliating. Lesson learned never dance with Liseberg bunny.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown messes with the wrong dog walker in Sweden
Not the clown in the story. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A dog helped its owner fight off a creepy clown chasing the pair in southern Sweden.

A million Swedes are digitally excluded: report
How should Sweden bridge the digital divide? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Tech-savvy Swedes? Perhaps not. A new study suggests that at least a million of its residents feel the pain of the digital divide.

Malmö's 19th Swedish title sets Champions hopes alight
Malmö fans celebrating after the match. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö FF have their eyes set on the Champions League after winning the Swedish league for the 19th time.

What's on in Sweden
Five great autumn events in Sweden this week
Jazz in northern Sweden. Photo: Umeå Jazz Festival

Food, music, movies and more food. What better way of helping yourself forget that the days are getting shorter and colder?

Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available