Wheelchair fraudster guilty of benefit heist

A 47-year-old who went on holiday in Egypt while posing as handicapped in Sweden and claiming millions in benefits has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Swedish police obtained snaps of the man riding on camels, smoking a hookah pipe and climbing the pyramids during a 2009 holiday in Egypt.

He had then received help from a publicly funded personal carer for three years after telling Swedish doctors, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) and the Linköping municipality that he needed a wheelchair and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain disorder after traumatising experiences in Iraq, his home country.

The man reportedly told the authorities that he could not walk, eat or get dressed by himself.

The 47-year-old, his ex-wife and two sons were accused of swindling 5.3 million kronor ($806,000) from the Social Insurance Agency and the municipality between 2006 and 2012.

A district court sentenced the man to four years in prison on charges of fraud and welfare cheating. He was also ordered to pay damages of around 5.3 million kronor.

The man’s ex-wife was sentenced to three years in prison. The sons received suspended sentences for assisting a crime.

The man has denied the charges and plans to appeal, his lawyer Mikael Abrahamsson told the tabloid Aftonbladet.

He is not the first 47-year-old man from the Östergötland region to have holidayed in Egypt while pretending to be wheelchair-bound and claiming millions in benefits.

In October 2012, the so-called “wheelchair man” was sentenced to four years in prison after swindling 13.5 million kronor from the Social Insurance Agency.

The original wheelchair man was also 47 years old and he too posed for holiday snaps in front of the pyramids in Egypt.

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