Published On: Sat, Jan 9th, 2021

Civil servant and police-employee sentenced for fraud with French-side welfare system

MARIGOT — Two women – one employed by the police force and one by the government in St. Maarten have been sentenced to conditional prison sentences in the court in Marigot for fraud with social allowances. They collected money from the French welfare system for years without declaring their income on the Dutch side of the island.

The first defendant, identified in a report on Soualigapost.com as I.R. (30) is employed by the police force in St. Maarten. Between September 1, 2014, and May 31, 2016, she collected €14,587 ($17,840 – almost $850 per month) from the CAF (Caisse d’Allocation Familiale – a fund that provides child and housing allowances) and the RSA (Revenue de Solidarité Active – the French welfare system) while she did not declare her income on the Dutch side to the French authorities.

Related article: Border closure brings cross-border social security fraud to light

“When I was pregnant with my first child, I went to the hospital where a lady from CAF came to see me and told me that I was entitled to CAF. As I do not speak and read French, my neighbor helped me fill out the form,” I.R. told the court.

The defendant claimed ignorance about the CAF, saying that she “had always been told that the CAF was for children.” However, on its website (https://www.caf.fr) the CAF clearly explains under which conditions citizens are entitled to its benefits. With one mouse click site visitors can change the language on the site from French to English.

A French-speaking neighbor had helped the woman to fill out her first claim to benefits from the French side but after this person moved, she failed to understand the contents of letters she received from the CAF. I.R. claimed that a lady at the CAF had asked for her phone number when she went to the office for explanations. “She promised to call me later but she never did,” the defendant said.

I.R. was also charged with forging a document by deleting the partly Dutch address from it. The court sentenced her to a conditional 2-month prison sentence. The woman is repaying the CAF in installments.

The second defendant, U.R. (32) is a civil servant in the employ of the government of St. Maarten. She collected 11,945 ($14,609) from the RSA between February 1, 2013, and September 1, 2019, which comes down to a bit more than $180 per month. She did not report that she was working on the Dutch side.

U.R. did not appear in court but she had already explained to investigators that she received RSA-support before she found a job as a receptionist and that she did not know she had to report this change in her situation to the CAF.

The court sentenced the fraudulent receptionist to a 2-month suspended prison sentence, twice the demand of the public prosecutor.

Source: Soualigapost.com