The Spanish National Police Force on Wednesday announced they have arrested 740 people and cited a further 1,241 to appear in court for defrauding 20.5 million euros (28.11 million U.S. dollars) from the Public Treasury.
The arrests came at the end of a probe lasting several months in which the police worked in collaboration with the Ministry of Employment and the Interior Ministry to investigate 135 fake companies, which were supposedly working in the restaurant, construction and domestic sectors in several major Spanish cities, including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Almeria and Alicante.
These companies, which never actually carried out any economic activity registered people into the social security system in order to receive grants and financial benefits, as well as using the registration to obtain work and residence permits for foreign citizens.
The investigations showed that these companies had fraudulently registered 8,400 people into the social security system, helping 2,100 people with the benefit of unemployment payments, and acquiring 362 work and residence permits for foreign citizens.
Wednesday's arrests followed the arrest of 313 people in Barcelona and Girona for similar offenses attempting to defraud 7.7 million euros from social security through the creation of 29 fictitious companies.