The National Police has uncovered a document forgery network dedicated to the fraudulent collection of social aid from the Basque Government led by a Senegalese citizen, who is accused of having defrauded more than a million euros in total. The operation has resulted in the arrest of 23 people who were operating in Bizkaia, all accused of criminal organization, fraud and false documents.
The investigation began when agents from the Bilbao Provincial Immigration and Border Brigade learned that a man was using other people to illegally collect aid from the Basque Employment Service (Lanbide), for which they also used medical certificates. of Osakidetza (the health service) and registrations in different Basque City Councils, equally false.
The researchers concluded that the brain of the network had created 62 false identities using other people in order to collect public aid, specifically the Complementary Housing Benefit (PCV) and the Income Guarantee Income (RGI), intended for people and families without sufficient resources. These aids are managed by the Department of Labor and Employment of the Basque Executive, which is directed by the socialist councilor Idoia Mendia.
In order to collect the benefits fraudulently, those responsible for this plot proved that for each person registered, they received an average of 875 euros per month (625 euros for the RGI and 250 for the PCV), which has meant embezzlement. of 1,091,416 euros in total.
The accused of being the plotter of this plot made use of the help of another of the detainees. Both assumed the task of physically appearing at the Lanbide offices with forged passports to register the fictitious person, posing as her, in order to carry out the necessary procedures before this body, while other members of the network dedicated themselves to renting houses and register these invented people in those homes, as reported on Tuesday by the Ministry of the Interior.
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The modus operandi of the network consisted of falsifying passports and registration certificates, so that it could prove that a person had been registered in the Basque Country for three years, a necessary requirement to be able to receive these aids and thus collect from the first moment in which they created the false identity.
To prevent Lanbide from detecting any irregularity, the ringleader instructed the members of the criminal network to submit requests for help in different municipalities of Bizkaia, such as Durango, Santurzi, Berriz, Iurreta, Basauri, Getxo…
In addition, they had devised a mechanism to avoid any public control over the receipt of aid, and had devised a plan to falsify medical reports and certificates of completion of training courses.
The first phase of the National Police operation was carried out at the beginning of the year with the arrest of a Cameroonian citizen. Later, at the end of March, another nine people were arrested, including the main person under investigation. Two home searches were carried out, where the agents seized 22 forged passports, 16 bank books in the name of false identities, 17 credit cards, nine mobile phones, an external hard drive and various documentation related to Lanbide. Finally, on June 2, the police completed the operation with 13 new arrests, all of them from Latin American countries and the Sahel and the Maghreb in Africa.
The detainees, after giving a statement at the Superior Headquarters of the Bilbao National Police, have been released with charges after testifying at the Bilbao Investigating Court number 10.
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