Paris (AFP) – French police on Tuesday arrested a woman who claimed 25,000 euros in compensation after posing as a victim of the 2015 Paris terror attacks.
The 48-year-old from Val-de-Marne in the southern Paris suburbs even held a paid job at a charity for victims of the gun and bomb attacks in which Islamic State jihadists murdered 130 people.
The woman, who claimed to be at the Bataclan music venue where the attackers killed 90 concert goers, had already been found guilty of fraud on three different occasions.
She has admitted the latest scam and will appear in court on Wednesday, prosecutors said, adding she accepted a total of 25,000 euros ($31,000) in compensation.
The FGTI state compensation fund for terror victims confirmed the payment, adding it intends to take the woman to court.
She had also been working for victims’ group Life For Paris as a paid staff member since last March after first volunteering.
The group’s chief Arthur Denouveaux said the woman’s name had been on prosecutors’ official list of victims, and that it was Life For Paris that realised something was wrong.
“It was Life For Paris that did the checks that the state should have done,” he told AFP.
She is not the first person to be caught impersonating a victim of the carnage at the national stadium and Paris nightspots on November 13, 2015, France’s worst attacks since World War II.
Two people have been found guilty of fraud and another 11 of attempting to swindle the FGTI out of compensation, according to the fund.
In December Cedric Rey, an ambulance driver, was sentenced to six months in jail for pretending to have been at the Bataclan when he was not even in Paris at the time of the attack.
He had described in vivid detail to the media how he escaped death when a pregnant woman “took the bullets meant for me” — only for the story to be exposed as a lie.
He too had sought compensation from the government fund.
But police noticed several discrepancies in his story, including the fact that no pregnant woman was killed in the attack.
Mobile phone data later revealed he was 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the Bataclan on the night in question.