Venice, falsified damage from acqua alta nets 230 thousand Euro in reimbursements: 12 merchants charged

All of the merchants charged operate in the historic city: false invoices were provided by “friend”companies.


17 Sept. 2021

VENEZIA. The Guardia di Finanzia of Venice has charged 13 people who fraudulently obtained 230,000 Euro in funds distributed for the acqua alta emergency of November 2019, presenting false documentation to the City.

Investigations carried out by the fiscal inspectors turned up evidence that 12 business operators of Chinese origin, owners of as many commercial operations in the historic center of Venice, had presented, as documentation of damages they they had suffered, invoices produced by five companies with offices in Veneto, Tuscany, Puglia and Lombardy, all also owned by Chinese nationals.

Further investigation has revealed that the companies that issued the invoices were in reality shell companies that were not really in operation, but were used to issue false invoices.

One of these companies, though it issued invoices with a date following the exceptional tide events in 2019, had already formally ceased operations the previous January. What’s more, in other cases, some of the beneficiaries involved, despite owning businesses that are completely disconnected from each other, attached identical photos of the damage they had sustained to their requests for compensation.

At the end of the investigation 13 subjects were charged by the Procura of the Republic of Venice for crimes of aggravated fraud to obtain public funds and issuance of invoices for non-existent transactions.

The operation was carried out under the aegis of the protocol of understanding stipulated December 13 2019 between the Department of Civil Protection and the General Command of the Financial Guard (Guardia di Finanzia), which was meant to combat any inappropriate distribution of the public funds made available by the Government to deal with the damage caused by the exceptional high tide events of two years ago.

In this context, in close collaboration with the City of Venice – which has made the database with data about the recipients available to the financial inspectors of the 1st Metropolitan Operating Center – the guard began checking on some of the businesses in the historic center that had obtained funding to verify the legitimacy of their requests and the funding they received.

Source: La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre

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