Hairdresser caught in benefit scam
An Italian woman claiming a disability allowance for blindness was remanded in custody on Friday for benefit fraud after police filmed her working as a hairdresser and cycling about town on her bicycle.
The 62-year-old woman, who owns a hair salon in the town of Lugo in northern Italy, began claiming benefit in 1986 because her vision was degenerating and by 2011 she claimed to be “totally blind”, according to a police statement.
In 1997 her doctor said she had to be accompanied when she left the house, and by 2008 she could only count the number of fingers held up in front of her if the hand was held a few centimetres away from her face.
In double-checking a list of professions of those registered as blind, police stumbled across the salon and filmed the woman cutting clients’ hair, shopping for clothes and food and walking and cycling about the town.
Her benefit — 43,000 euros ($59,000) so far — has been suspended.