3,400 fake disabled, poor found in Italy
Rome, Aug 7 (IANS/AKI) More than 3,400 cases of people fraudulently claiming poverty and disability benefits have been uncovered in Italy this year, including one "blind" man who was caught chopping wood, officials said.
The person caught chopping wood in the northern city of Udine, had been collecting money for "full blindness" since 2005, anti-fraud officials said.
Ten men in Belluno, 100 km from Venice, were found reporting false income figures that qualified them for poverty benefits such as public housing.
One of the men always went to submit his false declaration on an expensive SUV, they said.
Over 170,000 suspicious cases identified by Italy's national health service were investigated by police.
Their poverty and disability benefits were immediately suspended, and measures were taken to repay their debts to the state via confiscation of properties.
Italy's unelected government of Prime Minister Mario Monti is trying to reduce the country's 1.95 trillion-euro debt by raising taxes, reforming retirement rules and cutting back on perceived waste.
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