Chilean’s fake claims could reach €1 million, say police


A Chilean man has been arrested at a deluxe hotel in the Spanish city of Barcelona on charges of scamming what police say could add up to €1 million from various travel insurance companies. David Ing reports

The police force for the Catalonia region, the Mossos d’Esquadra, said it had already found evidence after  searching his room that he had used more than 20  false identities and taken out at least 12 different policies with both Spanish and international companies. In addition to fraudulently claiming bills, the unnamed 42-year-old is also facing charges of money laundering and falsifying documents. He is being held in prison while police continue their enquiries.

A week after the man’s arrest, the Mossos released a statement saying that he had been moving around various countries, especially in Europe, having stayed more than 100 times as a ‘premium guest’ at the Barcelona hotel where he was detained. The police’s initial estimate for the fraudulent claims stands at around €500,000, but the figure could rise to as much as €1 million, it added, given the number of companies that appeared to be involved in the scams.

The Mossos said that it had begun enquiries in August after an official complaint was lodged by an insurer. The company said it had paid out more than €60,000 to the man for treatment for arm and leg injuries during a supposed hospital stay in Singapore. At the time, he had taken out €100,000 cover for a journey to the city state. A few weeks afterwards the man submitted another bill, which this time aroused the suspicions of the company.

When the insurers started their own investigations, they discovered that the man had never been admitted to the hospital. Not only that, he had a record of having received treatments in a number of countries, including France and the US. Checks showed that he had been arrested in both New York and Malta and tried for similar fraudulent activities.