Postman gang stole tax refunds
Six postmen and one accomplice were arrested on Tuesday for
large-scale fraud with tax money. They intercepted letters in which the Tax Administration Authority requests the bank details of people who have right to tax refunds.
They may have learned the scheme from Sheka C., of The Hague, who was arrested in April last year and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He worked for postal company Sandd in 2012, and stole ten letters that year in which the tax office requested bank account numbers to send refunds to. C. entered his own details, and made €200,000 in nine months.
The Public Prosecution Authority (OM) launched an investigation that led to the arrest of four men and two women on Tuesday, who have already made €350,000 with their scheme. Five of the suspects come from The Hague, one from Bussum. The seventh suspect is from Schiedam.
The postman gang work for Sandd as well as PostNL. PostNL was made solely responsible for a while to handle sensitive tax mail after the arrest of Sheka C., who worked for Sandd. Now it seems that PostNL has been infiltrated by fraudsters as well. The company says they are doing everything they can to cooperate with the investigation.
It is unclear of Sheka C., is known personally by any of the current suspects. It is suspect, however, that the majority of the culprits come from his city of The Hague as well.
It is also possible that the postman gang is bigger than expected. The TV-show Opsporing Verzocht broadcast images on Tuesday of unknown people who were withdrawing cash from the accounts to which the tax money was sent.
Home raids revealed several thousands of euro's in cash, a BMW, jewels and administration. All of this has been seized. After Sheka C. was arrested in 2013, the Tax Administration Authority announced to be "enormously shocked" by the ease with which the fraud took place.
Victims have been promised their money back, and since December 1st 2013, account numbers can only be entered digitally via DigiD. Adriaan Ros of the Tax Administration Authority now predicts that "this kind of fraud can no longer happen."