The National Police, in collaboration with the Secretary of State for Social Security, have uncovered a fraud valued at 6,357,510.68 euros made by the improper collection of pensions of people who have died during the past year. The scam is said to be active in 21 Spanish provinces.
Of the 36 people identified as being responsible the police have now arrested eleven. They have been charged with 55 crimes against Social Security, fraud, documentary falsification and misappropriation.
The frauds have been taking place throughout 2019 in 21 provinces; Álava, Alicante, Almería, Asturias, Barcelona, Cáceres, Cantabria, Córdoba, Gerona, Huelva, La Coruña, Las Palmas, Madrid, Málaga, Murcia, Orense, Pontevedra, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Seville, Valencia and Zaragoza.
The investigations began after several complaints were made in different parts of the country. The majority of those involved were people who were close to those who had passed away, such as brothers, children, grandchildren and nephews.
Not all those responsible have been made available to the judicial authority since some have died, are seriously ill or are advanced in age. Others are residing in Germany, Chile, Ecuador, the United States, France, Switzerland and Venezuela.
This investigation has been an organisational challenge for researchers as, in total, 12,586 payments have been traced, 75 bank accounts, 23 cases with more than 100,000 euros defrauded. Indeed there were 40 pensions drawn for in excess of ten years.
So far 3,893,787.08 euros has been recovered from the total defrauded. In order to gain access to her mother’s bank account, having died four years earlier, one woman hired an actress who posed as her mother in the bank.
She was then able to access the money by falsifying her mother’s signature. This resulted in her making more than 200 illegal cash withdrawals amounting to more than 74,000 euros
One of the detainees was actually a bank employee who, taking advantage of his position was able to make up to 62 withdrawals from the account of a deceased woman. He was arrested while extracting money from her account at an ATM.