A Norwegian man residing in Thailand has been found guilty of making up ownerships of phony companies to get a payout for lost revenue from the Norwegian economic covid compensation system.
The Norwegian man operated the scam by listing big revenue from made-up companies on his tax form. The companies were both registered in his own and his wife’s name. One of the companies was a nonexistent parking area complex in Oslo that he claimed lost money when concerts in the area were canceled.
The man, who in his 50’s, had through different companies tried to make The Arts Council Norway pay out no less than NOK 13 million. He tried the same with The Norwegian Gambling and Foundation Authority. In this case, he applied for six million in reimbursements.
In total, the man sent out 17 applications for reimbursements related to canceled concerts all of which there was “no reality connected to”, as Oslo District Court wrote in the verdict.
The man had no sort of relation to the addresses of the parking areas that he had listed. Instead, he had instructed the postal service to forward all mail for the bogus company to his real address in Thailand from where the scams were orchestrated.
The man was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison. This is despite the fact, that many of the scams were snuffed out before the man had any money paid out.
Police attorney at The National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, Anders Oserød, explains that the intent is the important factor in the case.
“In these cases, the criminal intent is considered with the same weight as the completed crime. That is also why the sentence is so harsh. It was The Norwegian Gambling and Foundation Authority who suspected the exploitation and stopped the payouts from happening. We believe that it was a mere coincidence that these applications weren’t approved and paid out,” Oserød says.
The verdict of the case reads.
“The court believes that it has to be highlighted, that the defendant has tried to take advantage of economic aid programs that were implemented to alleviate a very difficult economic situation for many cultures- and business enterprises. Programs in which quick and trust-based crisis procedures have been prioritized. General preventive measures must be followed when one tries to exploit these kinds of programs.”