Compared to the financial skullduggery of the Panama Papers news that a Porto couple invented a child to get over €9000 in undue benefits is perhaps ‘small potatoes’, but it has nonetheless seen them accused of qualified tax fraud, qualified document fraud and bearing false witness.
The extraordinary case which began in April 2005 was only discovered when the couple was taken into custody for drug trafficking, and their children delivered into the hands of grandparents.
Two girls were accounted for, but where was ‘little Francisco’ – the baby born in 2005?
Porto’s children’s court alerted the PJ judicial police to a missing eight-year-old, and finally the story emerged. There had never been a Francisco. He was ‘invented’ so that the family could get a larger house and more benefits.
And thus the complex case that has now seen the couple made formal defendants and will result in a new trial.
Going back to the beginning, national tabloid Correio da Manhã explains that the parents registered Francisco’s birth a year before they put in for any new subsidies.
“Between May 2006 and November 2012 they received 3,377 euros” for their fictitious son, as well as a larger T3 family home – which allowed them to move out of their cramped T1.
They also benefitted from an increase in the money paid to them as part of the RSI (benefit for socially deprived and people out of work).