Kela service point in Kamppi. LEHTIKUVA

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Finnish Central Criminal Police are currently investigating a significant fraud scheme involving the misuse of social benefits provided by Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. The case, which spans the years 2022 to 2023, involves fraudulent activities leading to a suspected financial damage of over 100,000 euros. Such extensive misuse of Kela benefits is rare, highlighting the exceptional nature of this case.

The investigation has unveiled a complex operation where the prime suspect acquired control over dozens of rental properties in the Helsinki metropolitan area. These apartments were subsequently sublet to individuals registered as residents, who received housing and living support benefits from Kela. In a deceitful exchange, these tenants surrendered the apartments to the suspect, who then rerented them for cash payments.

With at least 25 apartments identified as part of this fraudulent subletting operation, the financial impact on Kela and, by extension, Finnish taxpayers is substantial. The Social Insurance Institution became aware of the fraudulent activities through the Central Criminal Police and has since prepared legal demands for potential future litigation, signaling the seriousness with which it views this breach of trust.

This case stands out not only for its scale but also for its breach of the societal contract, exploiting funds meant to support those in genuine need. Kela, in response, has condemned the misuse of social security benefits as unacceptable, emphasizing the harm it does to both the institution and society at large. In efforts to prevent such abuses, Kela collaborates extensively with other authorities, sharing information within the bounds of current legislation to combat grey economy activities and benefit fraud.

The ongoing investigation into this large-scale fraud underscores the continuous challenge of safeguarding social security systems against exploitation. As the case progresses, it serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance and cooperation among institutions and citizens to ensure the integrity of social support mechanisms.

HT

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