Berchtesgadener Land – Your children were seriously ill – up to and including cancer. The costs for treatments and medication have added up over the years. But all of that was drowned out and lies. With fake doctor and hospital bills, the 54-year-old secretary from the district of Berchtesgadener Land scampered a total of 66,000 euros from the aid fund for civil servants, but also from the health insurance company. The wife and mother had to answer before the lay judge’s court for 83 cases of fraud and falsification of documents. Because the woman in Laufen made an unqualified confession and has already begun repayment, she got away with a suspended sentence.
“Everything is right,” the woman admitted after the public prosecutor had read it. Page by page, the indictment listed bills from June 2015 to September 2018: hospital, physio and alternative practitioner bills for their allegedly seriously ill children. The woman worked in a medical facility, had copied originals there, partly pasted over or colored white, and was familiar with private bills of this kind. Her husband as a civil servant was entitled to corresponding allowance payments of 80 percent, the remainder was collected by the woman from the health insurance. The man initially did not know about his wife’s machinations, but is said to have triggered these activities.
“He hardly gave me any money,” complained the 54-year-old, whose “strong super-ego” had suppressed a lot, as she explained. “Your husband earns really good money as a civil servant,” said chairman judge Martin Forster, confronting the woman with a monthly family income of between 6,500 and 7,000 euros net. “He decided what to buy,” said the defendant, putting her influence in perspective. But Forster also knew about four cars and five motorcycles in the family and expensive vacations, for example on the Fiji Islands.
The secretary also had 30 credit cards. The credit institutions are said to have forced them on her with ever higher limits. The investigating officer of the Traunstein criminal police spoke of “a pronounced consumer behavior” of the woman. The husband was often out of town and had no knowledge of his wife’s machinations. However, despite the high income, his account was also permanently in debit. Like the woman, he also always made “large cash withdrawals”. According to the Kripo witness, nothing is known about casino visits, at least in the Bavarian region.
The defendant assured her that she had paid all of her credit card debts, and that she had been refused to make an installment payment to the aid agency with reference to the outcome of the proceedings. She herself calculates that the damage will be repaid by 2032 at the latest. A psychiatric expert could not find any evidence of a mental disorder in the woman. A difficult childhood and the insulting and irascible husband, on the other hand, may have been a reason for the woman’s actions.
Public prosecutor Thomas Peter saw in the acts commercial fraud and forgery of documents. There may have been cases before 2015, but they were not charged here. Because the woman immediately found a new job, Peter might have assumed a favorable social prognosis, which is why he – despite the high amount of damage – “barely” granted probation.
Attorney Reinhard Hauff spoke of a “disturbed relationship to money”. His client was apparently kept very brief by her husband and she herself had no control over her expenses. “She may have wanted to use the expenses to compensate for a lack of affection,” speculated the defense attorney, but he emphasized that the woman, despite knowing about the investigation, had not made any documents disappear. “She will make amends for the damage,” said Hauff with conviction, and agreed with the prosecutor: “A sentence of no more than two years, suspended on probation.”
The jury praised the woman’s early efforts to obtain repayment. However, it is “morally very questionable” to portray one’s own children as seriously ill in order to steal money. The matter was discovered purely by chance when an employee of the aid agency wanted to get price information from a clinic. “Without this simple question you would have carried on like this,” suggested Forster, who pointed out that the individual sentences imposed for the 83 crimes would add up to a total of around 60 years. The three judges ruled on two years’ imprisonment, which is suspended for three years. In addition, the 54-year-old has to pay 66,000 euros as compensation. The woman accepted the verdict. Hannes Höfer