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In a country full of swindlers, we are unfortunately used to seeing scams of different kinds. What hurts the most, however, is that they take advantage of the poor, the last ones, those who cannot even defend themselves because they are not even aware of what is happening to them.

We saw it in the case of Mafia Capitale scandal, and the money and bribes connected to the reception centers for immigrants. Now we find it in another case in point, this time in Calabria.

The sentence 25/2016 of the Court of Auditors has shown the criminal way in which are used the funds made available by the state for “new hiring of disadvantaged and/or disabled workers”. The villain in this story is the company Mari srl, condemned to pay 85,000 euros to Calabria’s administration, for taking that money with a noble purpose and having used them for other purposes, until the company was closed due to failure.

Obviously, all those vulnerable people who had glimpsed a bit of light in a life full of hardship were left jobless. With a double damage: one concerns revenues, money allocated and not used for the reintegration program, because European social funds end up in the underworld again. A slap in the face of Italy and its society.

What happened? The company had asked the administration to contribute to the formation and subsequent permanent employment of 5 people who were obviously supposed to meet certain requirements.

Their “promise” to operate in a certain allowed them to obtain money: € 10,000 for formative activities, € 75,000 to incentivize employment. Yet, this money never ended up in the pockets of workers who had the right to it; some of the professional figures proposed as possible recipients did not  even meet the requirements to access those funds.

In a word, it was a multi-layered scam, which was discovered by the men of the Revenue Guard Corps who proceeded via the courts after having found out, with evidentiary findings, that the undertakings had not been properly fulfilled and maintained by the beneficiary of the public funding.

None of the requirements were fulfilled and it is clear that behind it there was a criminal intention, not just unexpected temporary difficulties. Training courses which were supposed to precede employment did not start within 30 days, the number of permanent employees was not maintained for 36 months from the date of employment: Nothing at all, as it often happens in Italian administration. “Besides not fulfilling the promise, the company – according to the judges – ceased all business activity and is subject to bankruptcy proceedings. As if to say: the State will never see this money again.

Although, however, the ax of administrative justice has run its course and asked the entire sum, 85,000 euros, back from the former administrator as compensation for having received these sums improperly.

It is the latest in a long series of scams, which shows how the malpractice is still strongly rooted in Italy. Whereas thousands of people who offer their time as volunteers to assist those who are less fortunate, help and comfort them, there is another part of society that jumps at those who are weak as soon as it sees an opportunity for profit. The fact that we know how hard the battle is, however, does not mean complacency. Neither from an investigative standpoint nor from a cultural one. Therefore, telling these stories is a good thing to do, so they will not be perceived such an attitude as “normal” simply because it is pervasive in our society.

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