Over 300 cases of welfare fraud have been discovered in a German city, and the perpetrators allegedly originated from a group of asylum seekers Germany received in 2015.
The cost of this fraud amounts to between $3 and $5 million euros or the equivalent of $3.2 and $5.3 million U.S. dollars.
The fraud occurred in the northern German city of Braunschweig, with a population of 250,000. According to Joe Memenga, the chairman of the special welfare investigation commission, “The suspects are believed to have been among the 800,000 asylum seekers who arrived in Germany in 2015.”
The over 300 welfare fraud cases involved Sudanese refugees from that group of asylum seekers.
According to the commission’s report, “The refugees in question had registered themselves several times in different locations in a bid to receive multiple welfare payments, and they succeeded by using basic disguises to create three or four different identities.”
Memenga said, “Sometimes just growing a beard, or putting on a pair of glasses, having shorter hair, but always different surnames.”
Germany’s Asylum Seekers Act entitles every asylum seeker to 135 euros “pocket money” and 216 euros a month to cover the necessary personal needs if they’re not completely under the care of state authorities.
Commission chairman Memenga said, “On average, each fraud suspect cheated authorities out of thousands of euros. In one case, one asylum seeker had 12 identities. He had received some 45,000 euros illegally.”
Memenga claimed that overworked civil servants had not been able to see through the deception.
During the height of the refugee “crisis,” they were registering 2,000 people a day, many without papers or fingerprints assigned to their documents, with only a photo.
Memenga said, “They simply registered themselves several times. To some extent with the same members of staff. But at the time, they ( the staff members) were all overstretched.”
German authorities are now asking the asylum seekers who arrived back in 2015 to return to get fingerprinted.
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