'Blind' claimant caught using smartphone

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One of the suspects was seen driving a car and even using a touch-screen mobile phone. Screengrab: Pupia Crime/YouTube
12:25 CET+01:00
Two people claiming a total of €120,000 in disability benefits for total blindness have been arrested in southern Italy after they were spotted engaging in normal activities such as driving, using a touch screen phone and moving around without assistance.

The two claimants allegedly tricked the state out of a total of €120,000 over a period of seven and five years respectively.

As part of the investigation, which was carried out by the finance police in Crotone, southern Italy, the suspects were photographed and filmed as they went about their everyday lives.

In the case of the first suspect, who is the owner of a construction firm, he was seen instructing workmen, driving a car and even using a touch-screen mobile phone.

The second suspect was observed moving around without any kind of additional support and in footage provided by police they are seen opening their front door without any difficulty. 

The findings were backed up by a medical report ordered by the prosecutor in the case.

Police also seized three vehicles and two motorcycles as part of the investigation and have now suspended benefits payments to the two men.

This isn't the first case of people falsely claiming benefits for blindness in Italy. 

Last year a man in Campania, southern Italy, was arrested after he was spotted crossing a busy road unaided and driving a moped, despite claiming a disability pension and incapacity allowance of over €168,000 since 1999.

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And 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.

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