Italian authorities have accused 21 people, including Italian and foreign nationals, of issuing fake documents that were presented as part of family reunification applications.
Police in Marghera, Venice, have charged 21 people, including Italian and Bangladeshi nationals, of issuing fraudulent documents, including rental receipts, used by immigrants in family reunification applications, investigative sources said this week.
The suspects have been charged with fraud, presenting false documents and favoring illegal immigration, among others. Four of the suspects were also ordered to pay a fine of 5,000 euros for failing to declare the sale of a property.
Two rental agencies in Maghera and one in Mestre were ordered by authorities to pay over 3,000 euros for operating without the necessary authorizations.
Investigation started by Venice prefecture
Police opened an investigation after Venice's prefecture reported irregularities in family reunification applications presented by a number of Bangladeshi nationals. Investigators looked into agencies that were processing the documents required for their application.
They discovered that one of the agencies had produced 57 documents using a number of addresses for residency which didn't tally with the number of applicants.
Cash for documents
Investigative sources said migrants were required to pay up to 1,300 euros for documents, including proof of residence in an apartment that was actually rented to other people.
Proof of residence is required for a long-term residency permit. The local immigration office is now looking into the position of the immigrants involved in the investigation. Investigative sources said a total of 50 inspections were carried out between 2018 and 2019 as part of the investigation.