The rip-off Riviera

Sorry but it’s the sad truth: our beautiful region is thickly populated with thieves and fraudsters. Anyone can be the victim and so can the State. With stricter budgeting the order of the day, there’s a crackdown in progress on the many fiddles involving the social security system. Even by azuréen standards, some cases are extraordinary, like that of the home-care nurse in Cannes whose claims for payment to the Sécu indicated that on some days she put in an heroic 30 hours of non-stop work (not quite what Sarko meant by “work more, earn more”).

Then there were the cases of family allowances claimed for children who’d never been born and pensions collected for seniors who’d died. Of course, some of these frauds required the help of doctors and administrative staff who took their cut. And pharmacists, too, have been at it. One enterprising apothecary faked prescriptions for friends, family and even himself, pocketed the cash and kept the medicines for later sale. Maybe the threat of more careful checks will have a dissuasive effect; in theory, penalties can include heavy fines, jail time and banning from professional practice.

From Riviera Reporter Issue 132: April/May 2009