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Brits arrested in fake sickness claim racket in Mallorca
BRITISH scammers who forced hotels to shell out nearly €8 million in fake food-poisoning claims have been arrested in Mallorca.
They were said to have been ringleaders in the racket and responsible for sending 'salesmen' to busy resort areas to convince tourists to file refund requests based upon trumped-up sickness incidences.
A British woman aged 59 who reportedly claims to be a wealthy entrepreneur through 'working and playing hard' was arrested and then released with charges, whilst her daughter, 28 and heavily pregnant, is believed to still be in custody.
The island daily newspaper, Diario de Mallorca, said fraudulent claims reps were seen driving around resorts in a car which belonged to one of the younger woman's companies.
Both deny any links to the scam.
Another five, as yet to be identified publicly, have been arrested and are also said to be British.
They were reported by the Mallorca Hoteliers' Federation, FEHM, which was hit by 400 food-poisoning claims in 2016 alone, all from British nationals.
Holidaymakers in the Canary Islands and Balearics are told by so-called 'claims clinics', driving around in vans designed to look like ambulances, that all they need to do is present a receipt for a box of diarrhoea medication such as Fortasec, and their entire trip costs will be refunded.
Given that the claims are presented in the UK some time later, there is no way the hotels can prove they are not true.
The complaint is filed with the UK tour operator, who provides the refund and then seeks to recover the money from the hotel chain.
Numerous resorts, often family-run businesses, have been stung for millions and even forced to make staff redundant as a result of the frauds – and they report that their only all-inclusive customers who suffer gastroenteritis seem to be British, with no other nationality affected.
Even British prime minister Theresa May has pledged to clamp down on fraudulent sickness claims, which she says are giving the UK a bad name in Spain and other Mediterranean countries.
These fake claims are estimated to have cost the Spanish hotel industry over €50 million since 2014, and similar amounts in other countries typically chosen by Brits for their summer breaks.
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