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Faked illnesses netted fraudsters 75 million

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18:29 CEST+02:00
A social insurance fraud ring in southern Sweden is thought to have stolen about 75 million kronor ($10.5 million) from Sweden's social security system by faking serious illnesses. In many cases, the frauds involved entire families.

The claims come after a 32-year-old man who employed an assistant to help him cope with cerebral palsy, was shown to be completely fit.

The fraud centres on a company in Halmstad which provided personal assistants to people with disabilities. Police say they suspect that twelve people supposedly being cared for by assistants supplied by the company were in fact using it as a front to siphon off money from the state.

“They've had the same modus operandi in each case. Parents, relatives or friends have been employed. They've declared working hours and taken out money,” said Karl-Arne Ockell at Halland police.

The company was responsible for processing wages and receipts, providing significant incomes to a large number of people for every supposed patient.

A family falsely claiming to have three disabled children was paid 500,000 kronor per month. In another case a couple were paid 220,000 per month each to care for a man with cerebral palsy, despite the fact that one of the supposed carers was simultaneously working in a pizzeria.

All those involved in the fraud were foreign citizens. The 41-year-old owner of the company had recruited willing accomplices with medical histories that were hard to trace. This made it easier for him to fool the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan).

“If you were born in Sweden and have lived here your whole life, then you know it's not true if you suddenly say in your twenties that you have cerebral palsy,” said Ockell.

The 41-year-old, who lives in Malmö, was recently jailed for two-and-a-half years for aggravated fraud and aggravated false welfare fraud.

Police calculate that his company had an annual turnover of between 15 and 18 million kronor for the past five years, meaning he defrauded the state of a total of around 75 million kronor.

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