Drug criminals increasingly manage to penetrate the healthcare sector. This is evident from a survey by the Information Node Zorgfraud‘ in the region of Twente that was sent to the House of Representatives today.
In the investigation, 22 healthcare agencies were investigated who were already suspected to have a link to organized crime. Fifteen organisations were found to be engaged in hemp cultivation. Six of them also identified other forms of crime.
These include money laundering, tax fraud, benefit fraud, illegal gambling and also sexual exploitation of clients. For example, an 18-year-old mentally limited woman was put to work as a prostitute in a home by a ‘healthcare provider‘.
During the study, nurseries were also discovered in homes of owners of care companies, but also in the residence of a client. In three cases, a plantation was rolled up at the care site itself.
At three ‘healthcare providers‘ vulnerable clients were used to cut hemp tops. That was done under the guise of day spending.
The research of the ICZ focuses on Twente. “In other regions this has not yet been investigated, but I would find it strange if this type of fraud does not also occur in other parts of the country,” says researcher Carla Vianen to RTV East. “There may be another follow-up investigation in the rest of the country.”
Health care money flows into pockets of criminals
According to the researchers, these are mainly small, private, companies that focus on vulnerable clients, such as elderly people and seniors who have been confronted with all kinds of (addiction) problems or have been in contact with justice.
These companies allocated tons of healthcare subsidies under the heading of the personal budget, care in kind and the WMO (Social Support Act). The health care money didn’t go to the clients, but mostly disappeared into the pockets of criminals.
The researchers found that these malicious care organisations are regularly part of a network of companies, including real estate, catering, transport, gold trade, with a holding company above it. In this holding company, for example, the real estate, such as the care sites, is housed. In this way, a financial labyrinth is being erected, which makes investigators difficult to see the cash flows.
Also, there is often a blood bond. The drivers involved are mostly family members. If things go wrong and a healthcare company does not get a new contract or goes bankrupt, it often includes a son or daughter or other family member, who continues the business under a different name.
The researchers find that this form of undermining, which is actually meant for healthcare, is leaking out into the criminal circuit. Not only are subsidies lost, but at the same time vulnerable clients have to do without the care they need.