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Prison for dad who made girl fake mental illness

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11:43 CET+01:00
A 46-year-old father who forced his young daughter to pretend she had a mental illness in order to cash in on assistance benefits was sentenced to four years in prison by a court in western Sweden on Thursday.

The man was convicted of aggravated fraud and aggravated benefits crimes after having received around 2.4 million kronor ($343,000) in personal care and medical assistance benefits meant to reimburse him for taking caring for his supposedly ill daughter.

Between 2003 and 2010, the man provided false information to both the National Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) and local authorities in Malmö about his daughter's mental health resulting in weekly payouts of roughly 25,000 kronor.

The now 18-year-old girl has been held in isolation since the age of seven with the father claiming that she was infantile and unable to express herself in any other way than sounds and body language, leading to a diagnosis of autism and severe development disabilities.

But last autumn the girl ran away from home with her boyfriend and reported her father for unlawful threats, bringing his scam to the attention of the authorities.

She was then placed in a youth home, where the social services carried out an investigation which revealed that, contrary to all previous diagnoses, she had a high-level of mental functionality.

The father, who was arrested last summer, has continually denied committing any crime and still maintains his daughter is mentally ill.

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