Seven family members and one accountant have been convicted of serious NAV fraud and money laundering. The case is among the largest of its kind in Norway.
A 44-year-old man is sentenced to four and a half years in prison, while the other prison sentences range from two years and two months to four months. Two of the defendants were sentenced to community service of 120 and 240 hours. The convicted also have to pay compensation to NAV of NOK 3.86 million, and the court has confiscated just over NOK 800,000, writes Bergensavisen.
– This case is about serious employment crime which is very difficult to detect. As far as I know, we have never had a case like this in Bergen, and it was purely a focused spotlight on an environment and an industry that made it possible to uncover the criminal conditions, says State Attorney Rudolf Christoffersen in a press release.
The 44-year-old is disappointed and will appeal, said defender Marianne Karlsen to Bergens Tidende.
The offenses cover serious NAV fraud, fictitious working conditions, money laundering, document forgery and gross financial miscounduct. The matters have been going on for many years. The case has been investigated since December 2017 and reached its prelimanry conclusion on Wednesday.
– Some were acquitted for complicity, but all were convicted of fraud against NAV. Several of them were claiming ongoing benefits from NAV, and had the police not acted, they would still have been receiving benefits, says Christoffersen to BA.
All the defendants protested against the sentences, with the exception of one of them who pleaded guilty to one of the points of the comprehensive indictment.
The accountant made it possible
An accountant has been convicted of contributing to several of the scams and is accused by the prosecuting authority as an facilitator of the criminal activities. She was given two years and two months in prison for her role.
The court believes she provided incorrect information to NAV about income and working conditions, and made it possible for several of the convicted to swindle NAV as employees in her companies.
In December 2017, eleven people were arrested in a large-scale action in which the police hit the transport and distribution industry. Most of those convicted now reside in the Municipality of Bergen and Øygarden Municipality, but there is also one in Bulgaria.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today