Two arrested in massive migrant cash scam

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Over 200,000 migrants have arrived on Italian shores since the start of 2014. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP
09:22 CEST+02:00
Italian police have arrested two people as they attempted to flee the country, allegedly responsible for a vast scam using funds set aside in Campania to manage the refugee crisis.

Alfonso De Martino and Rosa Carnevale were on Saturday charged with a string of crimes including embezzlement and aggravated fraud, over “enormous sums” of money set aside to accommodate migrants, Naples prosecutor Vincenzo Piscitelli said in a statement.

The two allegedly siphoned off some of the Campania region’s €56 million in government funds to tackle the migration crisis, prompted by the arrival of over 200,000 migrants on Italian shores since the start of 2014.

De Martino, president of the Un'Ala di Riserva migrant centre, is along with Carnevale accused of spending the stolen cash to buy property and invest in corrupt activities.

With the help of unnamed corrupt officials, the alleged criminals lied about the presence of migrants at the centre and the services provided.

The treatment of migrants, including the food and clothes they were given, was below the standards set by the Campania region.

Further investigations are continuing in order to identify others involved in the scam, the Naples prosecutor said.

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The probe comes six months after a wiretap was released in which an accused Rome mobster boasted the profits from migrant centres were higher than the drugs trade.

READ MORE: Anti-mafia probe shakes Italian capital

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