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Fraudulent welfare reaches over 100 million

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Prague, Feb 19 (CTK) – Czech job offices uncovered the unlawful payment of welfare benefits amounting to 103.5 million crowns last year, the Job Office spokeswoman, Katerina Berankova, told CTK on Friday, adding that this mainly concerned housing contributions and sustenance allowances, followed by the payment for the disabled, jobless and parents.

In a number of cases, penalties, including prison terms, have been imposed, Berankova said.

Last year, the job offices uncovered almost 16,680 cases of unlawful payment.

In 2014, there were 9370 of them, with the total damage of 65 million crowns, Berankova said.

The results have reflected that more staff was hired, thanks to which job offices can do more checks, she added.

The staff checks the incomes of applicants for and recipients of the state welfare for a certain period. They use their knowledge of the local conditions and online information, Berankova said.

“If it turns out that an applicant submitted untrue or false information, the paid money must be returned,” Zdenka Cibulkova, director of the social affairs department of the Job Office General Directorate, has told CTK.

Berankova said some of the clients kept their incomes secret or forged their documents.

Sometimes they do not announce their getting a new job, staying abroad or the birth of another child, she added.

“Recently, the number of the cases in which people try to forge documents in the applications for housing contributions has been rising,” Katerina Sadilkova, director of the office, has said.

“They fictitiously divide their families and some of their members claim they have permanent residence elsewhere. In fact, they still live and manage their household together,” she added.

The offices cooperate with the local authorities, police and state attorney’s offices.

Most of the penalties are only suspended, but some offenders have been sent behind bars.

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