Crisis: 46,000 Greeks under investigation for pension scams

Swindlers cost Greek taxpayers 320 million euros a year

27 December, 18:26

(ANSAmed) - ATHENS, DECEMBER 27 - Almost 46,000 Greek citizens are under investigation for alleged pension fraud, Labor Minister Yannis Vroutsis made known Thursday.

The government in October 2011 uncovered massive fraud at the Greek social security fund (IKA), which over the preceding decade had paid out 7-8 billion euros in false pensions to relatives of 60,000 deceased retirees.

''We will get our money back, down to the last cent,'' promised then IKA Director Rovertos Spyropoulos, and the time of reckoning has come for the 45,997 names on the government's list of alleged scam artists.

Swindlers cost Greek taxpayers an estimated 320 million euros a year, with disability and farm pension fraud as the most prevalent strategies for ripping the government off.

Perhaps the most notorious example is the Ionian island of Zakynthos, where the government in August 2011 noticed it was paying out 6.4 million euros a year in scam disability payments to 700 people, or 2% of the population: they said they were born blind, earning Zakynthos the nickname of ''Island of the Blind''. (ANSAmed).

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