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'Wheelchair man' jailed for four years for fraud

TT/Joel Linde · 10 Dec 2011, 11:50

Published: 10 Dec 2011 11:50 GMT+01:00

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The three family members he claimed to be his around-the-clock personal care assistants were also sentenced to between one and two years in prison.

The 47-year-old man was convicted for aggravated fraud and benefits crimes and will also be forced to pay back just over 13.5 million kronor, local media reports.

After a car accident in 2001 the man claimed, supported by a doctor's note, that his injuries were so bad he needed personal assistants.

For six years his two brothers and his girlfriend assisted the man and meanwhile collected millions of kronor for their work.

The doctor who was on trial for writing the note was however acquitted by the Linköping district court.

The 47-year-old, dubbed the "wheelchair man" (rullstolsmannen) by the Swedish media, resides in Östergötland, but spent his summers on the Baltic island of Gotland, as well as in California.

Following his car accident he claimed to be in such bad condition that he couldn't even dress himself, but his fraud came to an end when suspicions were raised at the insurance agency and police managed to film the man while gardening with full mobility by his house on Gotland.

"This has given us both the strength and force to go after these people," said Svante Borg and the insurance agency to news agency TT, about the verdict.

Several other cases of benefits crime have since been revealed. A verdict is expected in a case in Malmö on December 15th, and in Halmstad in western Sweden a similar case is also in process.

The insurance agency has increased its ability to digitally trace possibly criminal connections between those receiving assistance, and companies supplying it, as well as the assistants themselves. The cooperation with both police and prosecutors has also increased.

"It has given us a better opportunity to follow the trace all the way to the end," Borg said.

Story continues below…

Each year about 23 billon kronor is paid in compensation for assistance in Sweden, and those receiving assistance are often completely unaware that cheating and fraud is going on behind their backs.

"It is a business that handles large sums of money, and it is a very vulnerable group of citizens, which poses a risk to attract the bad guys," Borg said.

The insurance agency roughly estimates that approximately one billion kronor in benefits for personal care assistants are wrongfully claimed each year.

TT/Joel Linde (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:28 December 10, 2011 by zircon
The unemployed are the new gold.
15:03 December 10, 2011 by banannen
why would someone get all that money anyway?
15:32 December 10, 2011 by Dazzler
Not a bad racket. 583,000 kr a year for 4 people.
16:33 December 10, 2011 by AHA
If this person is of Swedish origin then he certainly deserves this sentence. If he is not then I believe that sending him and his family that helped him back to where they came from is only fair bescause we have enough of their kind.
18:09 December 10, 2011 by Mb 65
Why was the doctor acquitted? with out him they could not have have done this. They should now look into all the people that he sign disability notes for. At least they will have to pay the money back.
18:33 December 10, 2011 by Abe L
Ironically fraud will get you any kind of serious jail time while stealing, raping or murder goes without real punishment. A broken system.
18:35 December 10, 2011 by Citrixme
Good that AHA not official government and have control only in his tongue !!!!
19:01 December 10, 2011 by zooeden
pay back just over 13.5 million kronor??? That´s like 2 million dollars he is not gonna pay nor even be close in his miserable life!!!

He faked the accident since 2001 I would like to agree that he should "at least" be sentenced 10 years since now is 2011, 4 years I can imagine are easy in a swedish prison that has all the warmth, video games, library and whatever!!!

The family and girlfriend should have the same treatment never the less and the Dr should have his lic. cancel as in yesterday!!!

I love it when they caught this people, they are the worst!!!
19:28 December 10, 2011 by spo10
I wish The Local stated more as to why the doctor was acquitted.

And I agree with "zooeden". Paying back 13.5 million kronor is almost impossible to happen unless he gets lucky and win in lotto or something.
21:38 December 10, 2011 by Cage
So he gets four years in prison while Rapists and other threats to society spend little or no time in jail. The whole thing is a clusterf***.
08:27 December 11, 2011 by Lavaux
So the bad guys are the companies supplying the care and not the welfare cheats, whose cupidic greed the evil corporations exploit? I see. This nonsensical claim exposes the dangerous idea that the same greed that motivates entrepreneurs to create businesses, profits, jobs and wealth also motivates welfare cheats and their enablers.
11:23 December 11, 2011 by Acta
Who knows, that doctor might get some share for writing those stuffs or he is just one of their friend. Can be check his or his wife's bank account to see if there is something suspicious.
14:33 December 11, 2011 by Mark737408
Unlucky likes lol
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