3 Sciacca farmers in trouble for inflated costs and fake invoices to get EU grants

Scam, tax fraud, and self-laundering. Investigation by the European Prosecutor for false invoices and inflated costs to obtain European contributions for agricultural development. The Guardia di Finanza of Agrigento has reported three individuals and three companies and carried out the seizure of assets worth 760,000 euros ordered by the judge of Sciacca, at the request of the delegated European prosecutor of Palermo. Three entrepreneurs from Agrigento and three administered companies are under investigation. The finance police examined the documentation provided for the expenses incurred for the construction of two factories by a company active in olive oil production, under an investment project eligible for a non-repayable grant of 50% of the total amount, within the funds allocated by the European Union, the State and the Region for the transformation, commercialization, and development of agricultural products. The spotlight was on a contract considered blatantly uneconomic, signed by the company receiving the grant with a construction company linked to the administrator’s relatives.

The agreement consisted of invoicing, in advance and on a progress basis, only a minimal part of the construction works carried out by the contracting company with its own means and manpower for a brief period. The latter, lacking organizational autonomy and not bearing the business risk, only acted as an intermediary between the contracting party and the actual workers, issuing invoices with artificially inflated costs, if not completely non-existent in some cases, solely to increase the total investment amount. The alleged fraud system had three main purposes: to benefit from a larger grant amount, calculated based on the reported costs; to evade taxes by unlawfully deducting the VAT shown on the invoices issued by the fictitiously interposed company; to divert a large part of the funds used by the fraudulent company for the payment of inflated invoices to other purposes. In particular, it is believed that 260,000 euros, thus diverted from the coffers of the contracting company, were used to settle debts of another company linked to the suspects, to avoid the seizure of personal assets. The enforcement of the measure allowed for the seizure of money, real estate, and other financial assets amounting to approximately 760,000 euros, for the purpose of possible confiscation in the future.

Fatture false e costi gonfiati per avere i contributi europei, nei guai 3 imprenditori agricoli di Sciacca

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