A police operation in the Italian city of Bologna | Photo: ANSA/Marco Isola
A police operation in the Italian city of Bologna | Photo: ANSA/Marco Isola

Italian authorities have dismantled a criminal organization that issued fraudulent work contracts to migrant workers. Over 200 fake documents were allegedly distributed over the course of two years.

The organization allegedly used two shell companies to foster clandestine migration and committed fraud to receive state funding. It was dismantled by a police operation on Wednesday morning in the Bologna area of Italy. 

An entrepreneur was arrested and four other individuals have been prohibited from exercising their profession.
The two shell companies were also seized. 

Fake work contracts for migrants

Using the two companies -- one in the town of Minerbio and one in Casalecchio di Reno -- the organization drew up over 200 fraudulent work contracts for foreigners in Italy over a two-year period. 

The criminal organization was set up to facilitate clandestine migration and to commit fraud against the state. 

The contracts were needed to get or renew permits of stay for the foreigners. They were also used to receive state compensation from the national social security institute INPS for maternity leave or unemployment out of contributions that had never actually been paid. 

The fraudulent documents were also used by 10 people who had been sentenced to time in jail, but who were granted work release.

Up to 1,000 euros for a fake contract

An estimated 500,000 euros were in this way siphoned off from state funds. The 59-year-old entrepreneur arrested allegedly made over 200,000 euros. 

The migrants found the man through word of mouth. The entrepreneur reportedly asked up for to 1,000 euros per work contract, for 80 to 100 euros for a false pay stub and for 500 euros for a fake tax return.

The investigation into the organization began in 2017, because police found out about a woman of Albanian origins who was officially registered at Bologna's immigration office as a cleaner, but was actually working as a prostitute. 

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