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Criminals caught up in benefits cheat probe

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Criminals caught up in benefits cheat probe
07:31 CEST+02:00
A campaign by Sweden's social insurance agency (Försäkringskassan) to root out benefits cheats has found that about 100 seasoned criminals have received millions in unwarranted payments.

In just one year, the agency has uncovered close to 30 million kronor ($4.1 million) in fraud perpetrated by 96 individuals.

In addition, around 30 well-known criminals have been denied benefits worth roughly 6 million kronor after their applications were found to have faulty information, reports the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Altogether, the social insurance agency has demanded the return of 312 million kronor in benefits payments from 5,223 Swedes.

Ninety-six serious criminals accounted for about 26.9 million kronor in fraudulent payments, roughly 8 percent of the total fraud uncovered by the agency.

Once case involves a 44-year-old man known for blackmailing others who has now been asked to return 1,167,501 kronor in wrongly awarded sick pay and housing allowances. The man ran several black market businesses at the same time he was claiming sick benefits.

In another case, a 43-year-old bank robber has been asked to give back 349,028 kronor in sickness and parental leave benefits. He had received the money based on income earned from a fictitious employer.

In 81 cases, Försäkringskassan's anti-fraud unit has filed reports with the police about benefits crimes, offences which can result in sentences of up to four years in prison.

But the agency doesn't know what has happened as a result of their complaints, because the police have failed to provide any follow-up reporting on the cases.

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