'Blind' fraudsters filmed shopping and driving

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The two men were filmed driving, supermarket shopping and crossing the road unaided. Photo: Thomas Leuthard/Flickr
16:59 CET+01:00
Two Sicilian men who falsely claimed they were blind managed to swindle €230,000 in state benefits, before getting caught shopping and driving cars, police said on Monday.

The two men, aged 57 and 67, from the city of Catania, claimed more than €800 a month in disability allowances until authorities began a series of checks on public spending.

Despite being registered as completely blind, the two men were filmed going about their daily lives with the ease of those who have no vision problems at all, police said in a statement.

In addition to driving cars, police said the pair was able to “move around freely, avoiding obstacles, cross the street without assistance and easily do their supermarket shopping.”

After investigators had gathered enough evidence, over a series of months, they swept in and charged the two men with aggravated fraud and damages to the state.

The six-figure swindle was described by police as, “A loss of resources intended to deliver the necessary economic support at those who truly suffer [from a disability].”

However, the pair’s over-confidence, and doing little to disguise their lack of disability, is not unique in Italy.

Just last week a 77-year-old man in Bari, in Puglia, was caught after reportedly defrauding the state of €135,000 in state benefits. He, too, was filmed going about his daily life while claiming to be totally blind.

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READ MORE: 'Blind' man filmed giving directions and shopping

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