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25 people arrested for alleged fraud of more than four million to Social Security

In December 2022, the Community filed a complaint against a worker after an audit.

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25 people arrested for alleged fraud of more than four million to Social Security

In December 2022, the Community filed a complaint against a worker after an audit

Agents of the National Police have dismantled, with the arrest of 25 people, an organization that allegedly defrauded Social Security of more than four million euros by capitalizing unemployment benefits, the Madrid Police Headquarters has reported.

The arrests have been carried out in different locations in Madrid for being part of this network dedicated to committing fraud against the State Public Employment Service (SEPE).

The number of illicit files identified exceeds 400, formalized between 2020 and 2024, and among those arrested are four public employees and four bank workers.

The investigation began in December 2022, after detecting irregularities in the activities of various employees dedicated to the processing of unemployment benefits.

COMPUTER ANALYSIS

Specifically, the computer analysis detected unjustified access to multiple files, mostly related to operations to capitalize unemployment benefits, a measure aimed at promoting self-employment and that allows recipients of contributory aid to allocate the entire of the benefit they have pending to receive to cover the expenses necessary to become self-employed.

The subsequent police investigations discovered a network that included public employment services officials, bank employees and administrative managers, among others. All of them were integrated into an organization with a clear distribution of functions and a structure distributed in five links.

Firstly, the organization had two men who played the role of management and customer acquisition, drawing up strategies regarding what type of requests should be made and calculating the profit margin for each service, which ranged between 25% and 40% of the total capitalization amount.

Likewise, they established contacts with clients, whom they directed to an agency in the Madrid district of Latina. In this agency, the documentary procedures necessary to support the requests were formalized, with its managers and workers being integrated into this second group of the organization.

APPLICATION FOR AID

These procedures supported the request for aid to acquire vehicles or computer equipment that should serve as initial capital to begin the self-employed unemployed person's activity. However, these purchases were accredited through false invoices, acting in collusion with two men, one of them dedicated to administrative traffic management and a second who ran a vehicle dealership near the aforementioned office.

The third of the relevant roles within the organization was related to the monitoring of files and advice, which was performed by the detained public employees - one of them belonging to the SEPE and three to the General Directorate of the Public Employment Service of the Community of Madrid -, who used their access credentials to the SEPE databases to carry out systematic and daily consultation of the beneficiaries and files of interest, controlling the procedures from their beginning to the final moment of payment of the benefit.

In exchange for these tasks, the aforementioned public employees received constant monthly payments from those responsible for the organization, which could reach up to 50,000 euros. They controlled the final profit through bank employees

In the fourth link, the importance of bank employees emerges, who were dedicated to controlling beneficiaries and payments. Previously, those responsible for the organization had contacted them to be in charge of opening bank accounts that were contributed to the SEPE as destination accounts for illicitly obtained benefits.

In this way, these people controlled banking movements and ensured that the network received the agreed amounts through balance withholdings or deferred payment orders for the agreed amount, which ranged between 25% and 40% of the benefit.

Once the benefit of the structure was assured, the beneficiaries transferred the committed amounts, entering the final section of the investigation, that of receiving benefits.

These were destined to bank accounts controlled by the companies in which the members of the organization participated or to their personal accounts.

A TOTAL OF 16 RECORDS IN HOMES AND OFFICES IN MADRID

The exploitation phase of this investigation took place last week with 16 searches carried out in homes and offices in Madrid and the arrest of the 25 members of the network, who were brought to justice as allegedly responsible for crimes against Social Security. , document falsification, bribery, revelation of secrets, money laundering and integration into a criminal organization.

In the searches carried out, computer equipment and mobile devices, high-end watches, more than 25,000 euros in cash, four vehicles and abundant documentation, among other items, were seized.

From the initial moment of the investigation described above, the communication and coordination between the National Police and the employment departments of the two public administrations concerned - General Directorate of the State Public Employment Service - SEPE (Ministry of Labor and Social Economy), the Labor and Social Security Inspection and General Directorate of the Public Employment Service of the Community of Madrid (Department of Finance and Employment) - turned out to be complete and highly effective, establishing from the first moment the clarification of the facts as a common objective.

MADRID COMPLAINT

Sources from the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Employment have detailed to Europa Press that in October 2022 the General Directorate of the Public Employment Service informed the SEPE of a computer security incident and requested an audit on the use of information by an employee who was on sick leave at that time.

According to the Community, the actions it carried out were carried out remotely and repeatedly. Furthermore, 89% of these procedures were linked to recipients of some type of benefit or this right has been recognized after the movements made by the worker.

After the audit and collecting the relevant information, in December 2022 the Community of Madrid filed a complaint against said worker, with the cybersecurity section of the National Police taking charge of the investigation. Later, the SEPE joined the complaint.