UK: Family from Czech Republic awaits welfare fraud trial
Members of a family of Czech citizens whom detectives say have abused the British welfare system, depriving the taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of pounds, are now awaiting trial in Britain. The online edition of the Nottingham Post has reported that the five family members in Nottingham, England will go on trial on 4 November.
Three men and two women between the ages of 32 and 39 are charged with organizing the arrival of foreigners, primarily Slovaks, who were permitted to work in Britain and apply for various benefits. The Nottingham Post identified them as Iveta Ferková, her sister Magdalena Ferková, Magdalena's boyfriend Julius Žiga, and Alena and Jan Lacka, a married couple.
The five are charged with assisting the new arrivals to Britain with finding accommodations, opening bank accounts, and applying for welfare, interpreting for them during their interactions with the authorities. Once the requested welfare was sent to the newly opened bank accounts, one of the alleged criminals withdrew all of the money.
"The lawsuit says they had a common aim and shared resources to commit fraud. The fact that they are all charged with involvement in the same conspiracy, however, does not mean they were all equally involved. Each played a different role," Judge James Sampson told the jury, which will decide the fate of the Czech citizens next month.
One of the immigrants has confessed to perpetrating the crime, while the other family members insist they are innocent. The Nottingham Post did not report what sort of sentencing they face if convicted.
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