Most Bulgarian benefit fraud fines remain unpaid

Just 55 of the 805 fines issued against Bulgarian nationals for benefit fraud last year have been collected, RTL News reports.

The fraud came to light in April 2013 in an investigation carried out by the broadcaster. It was discovered that gangs of Bulgarians were sending foreign nationals to Rotterdam to write non-existent people into council registers and then claim housing and healthcare benefits on their behalf.

Junior finance minister Frans Weekers said at the time the claims would be thoroughly investigated and the loopholes closed.

Subsequently, 805 fines were imposed, but Weekers told parliament in a written answer that the addresses of 510 of those fined were unknown. Of those 510, 296 wrongly received housing benefit, but reclaiming this is against European Union rules, Weekers said.

A further 32 fines have been annulled by the tax authorities. Of the remaining 263, 55 have been collected.

The Dutch tax authorities have asked for help from their Bulgarian counterparts in 199 cases, Weekers said. The response to these requests are just beginning to arrive.

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