Entire Island Pretending To Be Blind To Get Benefits, 8,500 Faked Being Over 100 Years Old And Lawyers Claiming To Earn Only €12,000: New Book Exposes How The Greeks Cheated Themselves Into Ruin
The collapse of Greece has been jaw-dropping over the last week as the public sees a string of photos of pensioners sobbing in the Greek streets, unable to use the ATM and get to the banks.
What is occurring in Greece is horribly sad, no questions asked. However, in a new book, the collapse of Greece is described as being partially due to the misuse, fraud and abuse that citizens in the country contributed to for years.
James Angelos’ The Full Catastrophe: Travels among the New Greek Ruins lays bare the corruption which filtered through all levels of society – from the islanders who pretended to be blind, to the families who forgot to register their parents’ death and the doctors who ‘earn’ just €12,000 a year – yet live in Athens’ most exclusive neighbourhood.
It was the rumours of an ‘island of the blind’ which first bought Angelos, a journalist, to Greece in 2011.
He had heard that on Zakynthos, something like two per cent of the population were registered blind.
All was not quite how it seemed, however, and it transpired that 61 of the 680 ‘blind’ residents were quite happily driving around the island.
In fact, an astonishing 498 of those 680 were not blind at all – or even partially sighted.
But being ‘blind’ had its advantages – in particular, the €724 paid in benefits once every two months, and a reduction in utility bills.
It was a scam which could be traced back to one ophthalmologist and one official, which was estimated to have cost the country €9 million.
And, as Angelos discovered, it was only the tip of the iceberg.
How big is the problem of disability benefits fraud, Angelos asked the then-deputy health minister Markos Bolaris.
‘Very big,’ came the accurate, but short, reply.
Indeed, when those claiming disabilities were asked to present themselves at government offices so records could be updated, 36,000 failed to do so.
That translated to an immediate saving for the government of €100m a year.
But the fraud was certainly not confined to just disability benefits.
When the government chose to take a closer look at who they were paying pensions to, they found a slightly suspicious 8,500 pensioners had surpassed the milestone age of 100.
An even closer look revealed, 40,000 pension claims were fraudulent. It seems people were forgetting to register their loved ones’ deaths.
While the revelations from this tell-all book will most likely be shuttered by the Left and their counterparts in the media, Greece’s social welfare abuse is a cautionary tale.
A system so broken by leftist social, economic and welfare policies should not only be an eye-opener for Greeks, but for the rest of the world and especially the United States.
Anyone curious what Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) thinks of Greece’s collapse?
John Binder is a news and political blogger for Right Wing News. Additionally, he is a New Orleans political reporter for TheHayride.com and a news blogger for ProgressivesToday.com.