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Police swoop on cash-for-health-vouchers fraudsters

Doctors and seafood shop workers swindled government out of MOP 8.5 million over two-and-a-half years, police say.

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Doctors and seafood shop workers swindled government out of MOP 8.5 million over two-and-a-half years, police say.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:43 am

Five local men and a local woman who worked for a clinic and a dried seafood shop have been arrested for using more than 5,000 Macao ID cards to fraudulently obtain digital health vouchers.

Judiciary Police (PJ) spokeswoman Lei Hon Nei said that the fraudsters cheated the government out of more than MOP 8.5 million between 2019 and June this year.

Another four locals allegedly involved in the fraud case were also arrested last Monday.

The six suspects from the clinic and dried seafood shop are aged between 29 and 69. They comprise three physicians, one of whom is the licence holder of the clinic, as well as the owner of the dried seafood shop and two of the shop’s employees.

According to Lei, the PJ received a tip-off last January that a clinic was colluding with a dried seafood shop in Areia Preta district to cheat the government.  The clinic owner allegedly paid ID cardholders 30 per cent of the MOP 600 vouchers in cash, or offered them goods from the dried seafood shop.

Lei said that the three of the clinic’s doctors received more than 16,000 transactions from health vouchers between January 2019 and June this year, involving more than MOP 8.5 million. The PJ checked the digital accounts of the three doctors and found out that one of them was not in Macao most of the time.

PJ officers investigating the case assumed that his account had been used by someone else for inputting fraudulent medical records and transactions using the health vouchers, Lei said. The officers also discovered that another doctor at the clinic had transferred more than MOP 200,000 to the bank account of the boss of the dried seafood shop. Police summoned several locals who had visited the clinic to assist in the investigation. Some of them admitted to cheating the government by using their health vouchers at the clinic to get either cash or goods from the dried seafood shop in return.

According to Lei, the PJ swooped and took the three doctors, three employees of the dried seafood store including the boss and four other local residents to a police station for questioning. The four other suspects admitted that they used their vouchers to get either cash from the clinic or goods from the dried seafood shop.

Five of the 10 suspects – three doctors and two shop employees – were transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office yesterday, facing fraud and organised crime charges, while the other four suspects are facing fraud charges, according to Lei, The Macau Post Daily reported.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:43 am

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