An Italian man who was supposed to work as a fire response officer at a public hospital has allegedly not been doing his job for a whopping 15 years in a row, while still receiving a salary.
The Italian public sector is infamous for this type of scam, and it appears this particular case sets a new national record for length. It was reported by the press this week, based on an investigation by local law enforcement.
The alleged fraudster, named Salvatore Scumace, was an employee of the Pugliese-Ciaccio Hospital in Catanzaro, the capital of the Calabria region in southern Italy. He was part of the COEI, the hospital’s fire emergency operations center. However, he had not shown up for work since 2005, and was only sacked in October 2020 after his lengthy absence was finally looked into, the media said
Over the 15 years, Scumace, who is now 67, has allegedly defrauded the hospital out of some 538,000 euros ($648,000) that he unduly received in salary. He is also accused of threatening his COEI superior in 2005 to stop her from making a formal complaint about him skipping work. The manager has since retired, and Scumace’s absence remained unnoticed by her replacement, the police said.
A total of seven people, including Scumace, are being probed in a case of alleged forgery, abuse of power, and extortion. It was unearthed in July 2020 as part of a wider investigation by the Catanzaro police’s financial crimes unit into absentee worker fraud in the city.