Foto: Belga

At least 18 million in benefits claimed under false pretenses

The Flemish government is investigating a big number of corona benefit claims. Benefit fraud cases have totalled at least 18 million until now. Fraudsters will be urged to pay the money back. The government has paid out a total of 1.3 billion euros in grants and benefits so far.

The system was installed to help self-employed or other people like employees in temporary unemployment cope in times of corona. 

The number of false claims is around 1 percent, and the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Vlaio) says this was to be expected. "We knew that some people would take advantage of the system", says Mark Andries of the Vlaio. "And we also knew we would have to carry out checks. These seem to be paying off now." Mr Andries expects the number of fraud cases to rise in the coming weeks and months as investigations will continue. 

A number of 2,176 cases have been started in order to reclaim the cash. Fraudsters will have to pay back the benefits within one month. 

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