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'Blind' man filmed giving directions and shopping

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'Blind' man filmed giving directions and shopping
Fake blindness appears to have become a popular form of fraud in Italy judging from headlines this past year. File photo: Freaktography
12:32 CET+01:00
A man in Bari has been arrested after he defrauded the Italian state of €135,000 ($185,500) by claiming to suffer from “total blindness”. He was caught out after he was filmed performing normal activities such as shopping and giving directions.

Over a period of nine years a 77-year-old man in Bari, southern Italy, claimed a total of €135,000 in disability allowance from INPS, Italy’s social security service, La Repubblica reported.

Just €53,000 of the total has been repaid to the state.

In a video clip (below) released by the Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (Financial Guard), the claimant is seen engaging in everyday activities including shopping and giving directions to strangers in the street.

Fake blindness appears to have become a popular form of fraud in Italy judging from headlines this past year.

In June 2013 forty people claiming benefits for blindness were arrested in Rome after police filmed them driving, reading newspapers, doing gymnastics, supermarket shopping and surfing the web in broad daylight.

According to Il Messaggero, they tricked the state out of some €3,583,000.

SEE ALSO: Not-so-blind justice for Italian benefit fraudsters

And in July last year it was discovered that a 64-year-old man – also from Bari – had been living off benefits for 30 years by claiming he was blind. 

He was snared by police after they used video cameras to catch him “leading a normal life”. He did his own shopping, crossed busy roads, helped out at the family grocery store and even drove a car, according to the Libero 24x7 news website. 

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