Agents of the National Police, in collaboration with the General Treasury of the Social Security, have carried out the operation 'Pandora', with actions in the provinces of Alicante, Balearic Islands, Barcelona, Cáceres, Cádiz, Córdoba, Gerona, Guipúzcoa, Granada , Huelva, Las Palmas, Lugo, Madrid, Malaga, Toledo, Valladolid and Zamora. As a result, fraud has been uncovered against the General Treasury of Social Security quantified around 27,503,000 euros.
The investigations began at the end of 2017, when the General Treasury of the Social Security and its different organisms sent different writings-denunciation to the Research Section of the Social Security of the National Police.
During the operation 22 cases that affected seventeen provinces of eleven autonomous communities have been reviewed and analyzed, culminating with the implication of those investigated in crimes against Social Security (contribution fraud), frustration to the execution, Social Security fraud (benefits fraud), documentary falsification, fraud, punishable insolvency, money laundering and organized group. Those responsible for the crime have turned out to be mainly responsible for the fact of the companies, but also their figureheads – who were some workers who were in connivance – and relatives of the former.
In most cases, patrimonial reports have been made of the people involved so that the General Treasury of the Social Security can request the seizure of those assets that it considers pertinent or, where appropriate, that the court that understands each one of the causes can use them in order to cover the responsibilities generated.
Various forms of fraud
In order to avoid paying the amounts owed and frustrate the legitimate collection aspirations of the Treasury, it is common among fraudsters to put into practice the following behaviors:
– Creation of business frameworks in which the corporate activity appears in one or another company, as appropriate, transferring the activity that the debtor was developing as well as the patrimonial elements to the non-debtor in order to continue the activity in a normal manner.
– The concealment of assets, usually through successive transmissions in the ownership that pass from one company to another, or family or trustworthy persons of the plot, in order to hinder the collection work of the different agencies of the TGSS .
– Break of seals of seized assets.
– False complaints related to theft of the seized property.
– "Fortuitous" disappearance of those assets seized.
– Black sale of the goods seized to third parties in good faith.
– The falsification of certificates of being up to date with the Social Security obligations of companies in order to be clean of debt before third parties and to continue with the labor activity through subcontracting, as well as to access the collection of public benefits or obtain bonuses in the quota of self-employed or in the contributions of workers.
The case of Maspalomas (Las Palmas)
One of the most characteristic cases was that by which the National Police, through a series of police investigations carried out in Maspalomas (Las Palmas), verified how two Spanish citizens supplanted the personality of administrators and represented two companies with real activity and Headquarters on the island of Gran Canaria. The powers with which they did not count were attributed and, in this way, they obtained authorizations in Red, Contrat @ and Certific @ so that they could process the discharge of workers in an illicit manner and be free in the case that such simulation was detected.
The legitimate representatives of these companies, which they were dedicated to online advice and technical advice on architecture and engineering, and their legal administrators were not really the ones who carried out and materialized the fraudulent plot or who agreed to work simulation with the alleged workers. It has been proven that there has been a concert of wills for the simulation of the employment relationship between the two supposed entrepreneurs, who carried out the registration procedures in the Social Security system through a price agreed previously with the fictitious workers. The sole purpose of these was to obtain economic and social benefits.
The alleged workers profited directly or indirectly financially and has been able to prove that they improperly obtained unemployment benefits, contribution periods not based on real work activity and undue access to the Public Health System. With all this they consummated an important economic loss.
Nine people have been arrested for the commission of several crimes of falsification of documents and against Social Security, and 11 other persons who were not in our country have been investigated for the same acts, of which the corresponding Court has been informed. .
The quantification of fraud in the Canary Islands health services has been requested, since some of these "fictitious registrations" were made in order to avoid the obligation of contracting compulsory health insurance for foreigners.
Research in Huelva
The second most striking case corresponds to the investigation carried out by the National Police in the province of Huelva to a limited sole proprietorship dedicated to the fishing sector. It was constituted in 1999 for the exploitation of fishing vessels. Since 2012, it became a systematic debtor to Social Security by not paying the contributions of its sailors.
In 2014, the original owners they simulated the sale of the company to an insolvent person before a notary, putting the property and family address to his name in the Huelva locality of Lepe with this maneuver. Subsequent to this first figurehead, a second with similar characteristics was placed ahead of the previous one: without any knowledge of the fishing sector, lack of working life in general, with a police background and with links to social centers, attention to drug addicts and entrances and prison exits.
The real owner of the purchase of the ship in 2014 turned out to be the leader of an important criminal organization dedicated to drug trafficking, so it was easy to place front of it to insolvent people and drug addicts who would act as frontmen. These last owners kept the real activity on the ship, hiring fishermen to exercise a normal activity that does not raise suspicions and hide, with this activity, the introduction of important amounts of hashish and cocaine in Spanish territory.
The debt with the current and enforceable TGSS supposes a total amount of 128,351.32 euros. Charges were made for an offense against Social Security to the two owners and heads of the fishing society investigated since its establishment until mid-2014. During that period, a large part of the imputed debt was generated. The two true purchasers and those responsible for the company, who would have accepted to take over the debts of the company, were also charged and, despite this, the debts were increasing consciously. And finally, also to the two insolvent frontmen placed by these last purchasers of society, who would have held positions in that society in exchange for an economic amount given their need for / for drugs, the latter being aware of not having any relationship in the company.
This operation follows an investigation exploited in December 2016, in which one of these same people who were involved in drug trafficking were arrested for crimes of misappropriation of civil status and against Social Security, having accumulated a debt of 187,167 , 65 euros in a company in the hospitality sector. In addition, it collaborated with the Belgian police to ensure that its operation against the drug trafficking of hashish came to fruition, achieving the arrest of those involved and the seizure of a significant amount of drugs.
Fraud in Zamora
A third notable case occurred in the province of Zamora. The National Police dismantled a criminal group that was charged with a crime against Social Security, frustration of execution and the group itself organized in relation to the maneuvers carried out on a business group that systematically evaded the payment of social insurance to Social Security
All companies investigated they were framed in the sector of wood and / or forestry, developing it in the same place. For this they used the same suppliers, the same workers that exchanged between companies, the same raw material, the same machinery, etc.
It is striking that one of the sole administrators detained has defrauded a total of 1,026,153.47 euros to the General Treasury for 37 years. Between the years 1995 and 2018 (23 years), he did not pay the debts generated with the Social Security due to his registration in the Special Regime of Self-Employed Workers (RETA), nor the debts generated from the year 2001 until 2014 (14 years) by the company name in his name. This person was already arrested in 2006 for a crime of insolvency punishable when he was part of a group of companies engaged in the hotel trade.
As of 2007, the three administrators joined together to create an organized criminal group dedicated to defrauding the Social Security, for which they created a series of companies dedicated to the treatment of wood, sawmill and support services to forestry.
Thus, the leader of the group would be in charge of obtaining the suppliers and clients while another, the holder of the authorized RED advisory, was in charge of the administrative part. A third party made available to the group the ship in which the activity was developed, in addition to controlling the workers and to supervise the good development of the labor activity carried out by the work in the assembly line.
The business group and the rest of the companies investigated have maintained a total of 349 workers during the activity time, detecting a Social Security fraud amounting to € 3,176,139.51.
Irregularities in Alicante
The fourth noteworthy case corresponds to an investigation of irregularities detected in Alicante. It involves the falsification of several official forms submitted for the purpose of obtaining family benefits under an International Agreement between Spain and the Kingdom of Morocco in matters of Social Security. The object was the payment of an economic benefit aimed at defraying the maintenance in Morocco of the children in charge of Moroccan workers displaced in Spain and legally occupied. Thanks to this, it was discovered that three Moroccan citizens had been able to obtain an EM-14 form (obtaining family benefits) in white with the valid stamps required of the Moroccan institution. They were dedicated to photocopy them in color and to fill in the blank fields with the precise data so that they could unduly access the service after presenting them to Social Security.
Due to these facts and in view of the existing evidence, the three main perpetrators of the acts have been arrested as alleged perpetrators of crimes of documentary falsification, fraud and benefits fraud.