Monday, April 22, 2013 - 08:54
Bulgarians Commit Fraud
Bulgarian syndicates commit large-scale fraud involving allowances and benefits in the Netherlands. They do this by sending compatriots to the Netherlands and letting them register as 'ghost citizens' with the local authorities. This was reported by research reporter Siebe Sietsma of RTL Nieuws, based on an investigation by the Rotterdam police. According to the police, the gangs who were previously involved with human trafficking, now concentrate on this type of fraud because there is more money involved. The scale of the fraud is not yet clear, but the police said that a Bulgarian suspect was planning to rent buses in order to get more compatriots for the fraud. The fraud operates in this way: Bulgarians present an identity card and a false lease contract at the counter of the Civil Affairs at the municipal office of Rotterdam. Registration will enable them to have an official address and a social security number. After registration, they receive a small fee from the gang and then they leave for Bulgaria. The gang then uses their data to open a DigiD, which allows them to apply for rental and health care benefits. These benefits are almost immediately paid out and the control generally takes place afterwards. According to the police investigation the payouts range from 6,000 to 8,000 euro per person. The identities of the ghost citizens are also used to subscribe for precious smartphones, which the gangs use to call foreign numbers. The bills are not paid and when the provider closes the number, the gadgets are sold. The fee fraud and the enrollment fraud amount to about 10,000 euro per person. Each month that the fraud remains undetected, this amount grows. The Rotterdam detectives suspect that several gangs enroll ghost citizens in several cities in the Netherlands. Simon Rijsdijk of the Dutch Association for Civil Affairs also says that this type of fraud is done in several Dutch cities. “It is a major social problem where much money is involved. We have no idea how fast this is spreading.” The police warns that other gangs might copy this criminal operation.