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A women's gang stole 600,000 euro from the state

24 February 2013 / 18:02:09  GRReporter
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Six people were arrested and charged with embezzling a total of 600,000 euro from the state. In 2012, five women and one man, acting in two different groups, issued orders for transfers of pensions to their bank accounts or accounts belonging to their relatives. As became clear, a clerk of the Court of Auditors, who was on leave of absence, a former colleague of hers and a retired employee of the same department, appropriated fake pensions and caused damage to the state amounting to 600,000 euro. The three women belonged to two different groups, with three other players involved in them. Two separate charges were filed against them for creating and participating in a criminal organisation, misappropriation, fake documents, misuse and money laundering.

The Internal Investigations Office revealed that the first gang had existed at least since October 2011, and the amounts they stole reached 479,922 euro. Up to March 2012, the 59-year-old retired employee of the Court of Auditors, who has no longer been working there since November 2011, had not filed the pending cases that she worked with, but continued to exercise official actions and issue orders. The economic investigation and verification of data showed that an order for the transfer of large sums to the accounts of members of the criminal group, by changing bank accounts, was issued for a total of 11 cases of deceased retirees. Even after her retirement in November 2011, she used her personal access code or codes of her colleagues, changed bank details and addresses in the files of deceased retirees, and their pensions were transferred to her accomplices. The group used a typical approach - some of the bank accounts with which they worked were used for a limited period. A total of 135,233 euro was transferred illegally to four bank accounts with which the 57-year-old former employee of the Court of Auditors worked, and another 344,688 euro were transferred to another five accounts used by the 54-year-old employee of the Court of Auditors.

The investigation in the office of the retired employee revealed an envelope with 14 copies of lists of bank transfers of the amounts of deceased retirees, as well as documents of the deceased.

As for the second group, a police investigation showed that it has been working since February 2004, and the total amount of criminal activity amounted to 68,711 euro. Up to November 2011, the 46-year-old employee of the Court of Auditors, who was on leave of absence, used her personal code or those of her colleagues, and, via the electronic system, changed data (bank accounts, addresses of households) in files of deceased pensioners, but also in files of still living retirees, which were discontinued for various reasons. After that, she ordered the transfer of pensions to the bank accounts of her 51-year-old husband and 42-year-old accomplice. Her husband owns a bank account to which a total of 55,012 euro were transferred with 24 different orders. Another three instalments totalling 13,699 euro were transferred to the account of her accomplice in 2012.

This tremendous fraud is only part of the vast list of similar cases that has become known in past years, while losses of insurance funds exceeded 5 billion euro. According to initial estimates of the Ministry of Employment, the total number of improperly awarded pensions (main pensions, widow's pensions, pensions for unmarried daughters) amounted to 60,000 euro. These resulted in annual losses of 420 million euro, of which a total of 5 billion euro in the past decade.

On this occasion, Minister of Employment Yiannis Vroutsis said that, once again, the insurance system proved to be unstable and broken. If the new law had been passed earlier, there would have been no such cases, according to him. According to Vroutsis, an end will be put to irregular pensions and employees' impunity in a month.

Tags: frauds pensions Court of Auditors
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