An Italian who has received financial aid from the state for years due to poor eyesight, was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of fraud after he was caught driving his car and motorbike and window shopping, officials said.
The Palermo resident, in Sicily, has received at least 170,000 euros ($191,000) in aid since 2008 after claiming he was “completely blind” due to a congenital problem.
Italian financial police were alerted after the fake person with low vision renewed his driver’s license in 2018, according to press reports.
Police watch him drive while simultaneously tapping his cell phone, staring out of shop windows as he walks down a crowded shopping arcade, and teaching his daughter to ride a bike.
Palermo Today reported that the 40-year-old was riding an uninsured motorbike, adding that he had been dubbed “Berlusconi” after the former Italian prime minister was involved in legal proceedings.
He was known to the police, after he was sentenced in the first instance in 2020 to nearly 15 years in prison for belonging to a network that carried out false traffic accidents to collect the security deposit.
This conviction is under appeal.
Although he owns a garage, the suspect also received the monthly “basic income” that is paid in Italy to poorer citizens.
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