Ten Convicted in Migrant NGO Scam Case That Cost Italians Millions

Migrants are pictured in a squatted abandoned penicillin factory on November 14, 2018 in R

The Court of Milan has convicted ten people who were part of a network that defrauded the Italian state of millions of euros while managing funds for migrant reception NGOs.

The suspects were convicted of fraud against the state over the handling of at least €7.5 million (£6.41m/$8.96m) meant to go towards four migrant reception NGOs.

Area Solidale (Solidarity Area), Volunteers Without Borders, Amici di Madre Teresa (Friends of Mother Teresa), and Milano Solidale (Solidarity Milan) were all named as part of the fraud and were supposed to use state money to help newly arrived migrants, but kept much of the cash for themselves, Il Giornale reports.

Daniela Giaconi, the 69-year-old head of Consorzio Area Solidale who is believed to be at the centre of the scam, received the longest sentence of 11 years in prison for her role in the fraud. Prosecutor Gianluca Prisco had requested a 13-year sentence.

The other convicted fraudsters were handed sentences of between four years and nine months to eight years in prison.

The NGOs used false documentation to obtain €7.5 million from the Italian Interior Ministry and are also said to have had connections with the mafia group known as ‘Ndrangheta.

The judge also ordered the confiscation of €9 million (£7.7m/$10.75m) in funds and the payment of €200,000 (£171,055/$238,930) for the Interior Ministry, which was a civil party in the case. Judges are expected to file their reasons for the rulings in the next 90 days.

The case is not the first time a pro-migrant NGO has been accused of defrauding taxpayers.

In 2018,  the co-op Solidarity took cash from the government of the city of Florence to house migrants. But investigators later learned the group was not providing the services they had promised and even housed migrants in a facility above its intended capacity.

Giovanni Donzelli, a member of the populist-conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI), now one of the most popular parties in Italy, commented at the time on the case, saying: “They used migrants as a human commodity. The left has long been co-responsible for the waste of public money and the exploitation of these people used to make money for the co-operatives.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com


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