OVER 100 people have been arrested in the Murcia Region, accused of collecting government benefits fraudulently. Further arrests were made in Alicante and Valencia. The gang is accused of defrauding nearly €1 million from government coffers.
The network allegedly used two companies, one fictional, so that at least 130 people, accused of crimes of social security fraud, forgery and belonging to a criminal organisation, could benefit from collecting unemployment benefits, temporary disability and maternity benefits.
The operation ‘Tributo’ began in early 2014, when the Provincial Labour and Social Security office noted irregular practices in two companies in Torre Pacheco, and police launched an investigation. It has been reported that the first company was devoted to the wholesale of fruits and vegetables, and had a workplace and a portfolio of customers and suppliers, but the second company was a ‘screen’ for the practice of illegal activities and lacked headquarters, customers or suppliers.
Agents say they discovered that there was a network that facilitated the payment of €100 for work contracts to individuals in order to obtain public benefits. The agents discovered that these administrative ‘fraudulent’ transactions were managed through Torre Pacheco, and that these companies accumulated more than €400,000 of debt for unpaid taxes.
The believed head of the organisation, a 38-year-old man, was amongst the 130 detainees with arrests made in Aguilas, San Javier, Torre Pacheco, San Pedro del Pinatar, Fuente Alamo, Los Alcazares, Bullas, Molina de Segura and Mazarron. Further arrests were made in Alicante, Almeria, Valencia and Madrid.