Fraudster pockets donations for refugees

Fraudster pockets donations for refugees
Refugees at Vienna's Westbahnhof station. Photo: Kim Traill
A 58-year-old man from Carinthia is suspected of pocketing donations he collected for refugees from 180 municipal offices. The fraud came to light when police were investigating the man for another crime.

It’s not yet clear how much money the man took under false pretences. Police had been investigating him for an earlier case of tax evasion when he was self-employed, when they realised he had been scamming people and pretending to collect money for refugees.

In the past few months the man sent emails to local council offices, asking for donations for refugees. 180 offices pledged their support. The man then visited each office personally to collect the donations.

However, none of the money went to local charities that are helping refugees but instead into the man’s own bank account. He could not tell police what the money had been used for and is now being investigated for commercial fraud.