Travel fraud – two arrested

Operation Pegasus targets mobility allowance fraud

FN reports that several teams from the Judiciary Police yesterday triggered “Operation Pegasus”, an investigation targeting fraud, forgery, tax fraud and money laundering in connection with residents mobility allowance claims. By coincidence the national parliament yesterday approved the replacement of the current mobility allowance system, where residents pay the market rate for their airfare and then subsequently reclaim the difference between that and the base subsidised fare of €86 (€65 for students).

Operation Pegasus consisted of a number of searches of homes and business premises in Funchal, and a large amount of evidence was seized, including accounting documentation, devices and computer data, as well as cash.

Two individuals, responsible for a travel agency (more than one agency in another report), were arrested, suspected of having falsely filed documents and fictitious billing, and receiving improper travel reimbursements under the social mobility allowance in force in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, thereby damaging the public treasury. The amounts involved are believed to amount to several hundred thousand euros. This value, provisionally fixed by the investigation so far, is expected to increase substantially.

The detainees, aged 46 and 28, will be presented before the courts, who will apply whatever sentence is considered appropriate.

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