The “hole” in the control system of the Region of Crete seems to have been exploited by the vehicle transfer mediator, in order to set up the “factory” by not paying the tax for thousands of car and two-wheeler transfers in Heraklion.
The system of the Region of Crete, as a result of the large fraud against it by a private professional, seems to have had a gap in terms of the control and cross-checking of revenues and administrative acts on parole! That is, the Fund did not know how many transfers had been made, so that it could cross-check whether the ones it received corresponded to the administrative acts that had been carried out. At the same time, the investigation is turning in another direction, in order to establish whether or not the owner of the transfer processing office had an accomplice or even help and if it came from the inside!
The case with the big fraud, as admitted yesterday, one day after the revelation of the case, the deputy regional governor of Crete Nikos Syrigonakis in his written statement, is already in the hands of the prosecutor, while already the SDOE seems to be making “leaf and feather” transfers and fund, as it is estimated that the owner of the transfer office I.X. in Heraklion, which set up the “machine” was profited by the non-payment of the full amount of the transfer fees of over 1 million euros. To be precise, the amount so far identified by the SDOE investigation reaches 1.2 million euros.
Estimates indicate that this amount by the end of the investigation cannot be ruled out to double or triple, which raises many questions for the auditing authorities about the length of time that the owner of the transfer office I.X. he made transfers and did not pay the fee, but he provided Mechanologiko with bank receipts, which he had “tampered with” by changing the final payment amount.
The aforementioned owner of the transfer office I.X. (mediator or processor) did not deliver the transfer receipt to the District, “forging” the bank receipts he submitted to the Mechanical Transfer Office. Specifically, if a transfer cost 135 euros, he paid the 35 euros through an ATM to the IBAN of the Region of Crete. He was taking a receipt from the machine and then he had found a way to add an ace to the front, making the 35 euros look like 135 on the receipt. He then presented this proof together with the complete file of supporting documents required by law to the Transfer Office of Heraklion of the Region of Crete and succeeded in the transfer. The 100 euros out of the 135 that each citizen had paid him was put into his pocket “black” and tax-free, damaging the State and also his customers, as anyone can understand.
He deposited 5 euros and “made” 75!
The facts that come to light about the much-lauded case of Mechanical Heraklion are even more shocking in their details! The mediator involved in the case did not hesitate to deposit even 5 euros in favor of the Region of Crete, receive the receipt from the ATM and then, having the means, write a 7 on the printed receipt, so that the 5 euros can be seen 75!
The same sources state that so far most of the forged bank receipts detected by the audit concern bills of 75 and 135 euros, which means that the trick was done with all transfers, cars and two-wheelers. It should be noted that this fee is a resource that goes directly to the Region and is not attributed to the State.
15,000-20,000 euros per month
At the same time, the first evidence of the case shows a time depth of the fraud of about 10 or 11 years. However, that remains to be seen. Information indicates that the profit from the fees for the mediator reached around 15,000 to 20,000 euros per month. Therefore, this means that he had a large client base and handled many transfer cases, receiving from the clients the entire amount of the fees, but giving a small part of them to the funds of the Region of Crete.
At the Mechanical Engineering ATM
An even more impressive element is what concerns the transactions made by the particular owner of the vehicle transfer office. The information states that the majority of the receipts checked as “tampered” concern transactions made at an ATM located inside the building of the Mechanical Department. He “teased” the receipts of this machine and then submitted them to the Transfer Office.
A citizen discovered the fraud
Thanks to the foresight of a citizen who was a client of the particular clearinghouse, it appears that the professional broker’s scheme has reportedly been uncovered. The sources said that a citizen who had made a transfer and had a receipt of the fees paid to him by the intermediary noticed something wrong with the receipt.
According to the same sources, he seems to have noticed that the ace added by the broker’s hand to the receipt was not in line with the rest of the sum. Then he switched to Mechanical and addresses an employee. They check the original receipt and the photocopy and detect any alteration. The bank that has placed the ATM in Mechanical is informed to check the machine to see if something is wrong with the printing. Then it is found that another amount is written on the receipt and another amount has been deposited. It is now the moment when the SDOE comes in for control and the tangle begins to unravel.
Five question marks
To appreciate the size of the combine and how it found a “hole” in the system to set up, the following is worth mentioning:
A citizen discovers the fraud and informs the service. So the service had never really checked what it was receiving?
The SDOE seems to identify a loss of 1.2 million euros at the moment, but the estimate speaks of even three times that amount.
According to information, it is checked whether the trick was set up by him alone or if there was an accomplice or even any other help internally by the competent Services of the Region of Crete.
The system in the Region of Crete appears to be broken. There is a complete lack of checks and crossing filters. That is, the Fund knew how much it was collecting from transfers and how many were being made? Did the receipts presented to the Transfer Office correspond to the physical money flowing into the treasury? The Ministry of Transport records the annual number of transfers, not the resources. The Treasury Department should be asking or telling the Transfer Office how many administrative transactions had been made to match.
In addition, a check is made whether there was a separate code for transfers or a code for all payments to the Region. If there was a separate code, the result of the checks would be able to be extracted quickly. If not, it means that receipts and payments should be checked one by one.
The Region of Crete sent the case to the prosecutor
In the meantime, yesterday, after the revealing publication of “NK”, the Region of Crete issued a statement fully confirming the report that came to light.
The announcement of the Region of Crete together with the statement of the deputy regional governor Nikos Syrigonakis is the following: “Executives of the Directorate of Transport and Communications of Heraklion, after a thorough check, recorded evidence of illegality by the office of handling cases of the State in the Mechanical Department of P.E. Heraklion. The case was referred for a full investigation to the competent prosecutorial authorities.
On the occasion of this development, the deputy governor of Heraklion, Nikos Syrigonakis, made the following statement: “About 15 days ago, officials of the Directorate of Transport and Communications, conducting a thorough inspection, identified irregularities-illegalities that were being carried out by a processing office. The competent services were immediately informed. We are in cooperation with the auditing authorities, providing every facility in their work. The relevant audits have begun and we await their findings.