A supermarket in Tilburg, Noord-Brabant has ended up with fake 2 euro coins, according to the police. They are easy enough to spot: there’s no inscriptions or marks on the side of the coin when there should be, something most people don’t bother checking, but now you know.
Back in 2012 we told you about passing off Thai coins [baht] as euro coins, and when I clean out my junk drawer, I’m reminded of a few other odd coins from either Africa or South America I ended up with after a long night down the pub.
On 21 March, the country is holding municipal elections, and residents who are eligible to vote will have received their personalised voting pass by mail.
Some 44-year-old guy from Waalwijk wanting to make a few euro tried to sell his voting passes on Dutch bidding site Marktplaats. And it’s a two for one because in these elections, we’re also voting in a referendum on the Intelligence and Security Services Act 2017 (aka ‘Sleepwet’ in Dutch).
The Public Prosecution Service got wind of the sale and the man was fined 250 euro. The man was pretty relaxed about it, saying “I never vote, so I thought I could make someone happy with my passes”, which is odd since the person who would use them would have to prove their identity and that seems a bit much.
The Mayor of Waalwijk said he wanted the Public Prosecution Service to investigate why this happened (why did Marktplaats go along with this, I wonder) and our guy answered unfazed that he wasn’t afraid of the mayor’s threats.
On May 1st Rotterdam Central Station proudly announced that only travellers who check in with their public transport chip cards are allowed in the hall of the train station, which until then had been open to nearby employees out to grab some lunch and the likes. Safety was the main reason given, since crimes against train staff have been on the rise for a while and this was supposed to help. Watch the video below though if you want to see train station staff attacking the press.
Due to the low height of the gates, anyone who excels at gate jumping can get by without paying a fare very easily, as no attempt is made at stopping them in the video below. Yes, it does look like jumping hurdles. Problem is the limber people jumping the gates in the evening and taking trains are the baddies who attack train staff. Other major stations have much higher gates, but then the trick is pushing through them at the same time as someone else who has checked in, which doesn’t seem to make things any safer.
Anyone who properly pays their fare might feel screwed over for following the rules while others cheat the system and can move about the station as they please. A good point made in the video is that you can only use your public transport chip card at a train station if you have a balance of 20 euro or more on your card, which is not a requirement with other public transportation. Maybe if that amount were lowered less people would feel inclined to jump over, but it could also be, as they say in Dutch, ‘mopping up with a running faucet’.
A woman in Florida faked slipping and falling on the floor at chain store Target in order to defraud her insurance company. Margaret Dagniewska, 38, told a Target employee that she injured her neck, back, legs and shin at the store.
First, the surveillance camera shows her sitting down and second – the funny bit – she called her mother in Dutch telling her that she was sitting on the floor. Little did she know that a store employee understood Dutch and made a right fool of Dagniewska.
When the paramedics showed up, they left Dagniewska sitting there to get up on her own. The woman was eventually jailed for fraud. Dagniewska is a known defrauder, and it is not know if she is a card-carrying Dutch or maybe Belgian national.
Are the Dutch goody two-shoes or do they merely possess a strong sense of civic duty? I’ll leave that for our readers to decide.
According to Z24 last Thursday the Dutch and the Fins are the best at paying their value added tax (VAT).
The European Commission compared the expected VAT with the VAT that was actually collected in 26 Member States in 2012. Finland and the Netherlands had a VAT gap of 5%, closely followed by Luxembourg at 6%. Romania had the largest gap at 44%. The average VAT gap for the European Union was 16% which translates to an estimated 177 billion euro in lost tax revenue. This lost revenue is borne by the governments and by the entrepreneurs who actually do pay VAT.
The way VAT works is that it is collected for the government by the businesses at the point of sale. It is a consumer tax, so businesses get to deduct the VAT they themselves paid from the money they send to the government.
And now a former professor of the VU University Amsterdam, Mart Bax, has apparently published at least 61 documents of fake research in 15 years. He was quite crafty and managed to recycle his work under fake names, lie about awards and surely more things that will be excavated soon.
The biggest difference so far is that Stapel was still working as a professor when he got caught and Bax has been away from his university for some 11 years.
People posing as doctors and people who have set up fictitious health care institutions have been defrauding Dutch health care insurers out of millions of euros by submitting false invoices for services never rendered.
The fraud is apparently childishly easy to commit using the personal codes of practicing physicians that have been ‘lending out’ the right to use their code to crooks for a piece of the action. However, the whole practice was uncovered when a woman in Rotterdam defrauding the system got caught using the code of a doctor who just happened to be in jail at the time. Some crooks have gone so far as to use the codes of doctors who are retired and even deceased.
According to just one health insurer who claims to have hundreds of these cases, this could be the biggest form of fraud in the entire country. The company responsible for handing out the codes does not do any checking after it a code has been given, making it easy to defraud health care institutions who are in fact responsible for reporting any fraudulent use of the codes.
It’s one thing for crooks to piggyback on the personal codes of doctors, which makes us point fingers at the total lack of security related to these codes, but it makes me really uncomfortable to know that doctors are actually joining in to this fraud to make some quick cash.
The Netherlands’ favourite scientific fraudster, Diederik Stapel, is at it again.
The former psychology professor, whose name ironically also means ‘crazy’, has started offering zinritten, ‘mind rides’. He explains on his website:
Always on the move, from A to B, hurried, no time for reflection, for distance, for perspective. […] Diederik offers himself as your driver and conversation partner who won’t just get you from A to B, but who would also like to add meaning and disruption to your travel time. He will […] listen to what you have to say or talk to you about what fascinates, surprises or angers you. [Slightly paraphrased for brevity—Branko]
Last year ‘Professor’ Diederik Stapel from the University of Tilburg was suspended for making up pro-vegetarian research, which other ‘Professors’ bought into hook, line and sinker, like a school of professional fish.
An investigative committee was set up to find out how much nonsense he actually made up over the years and apparently, it’s a big pile. From his Groningen period, nine articles and two dissertations have been added to the heap of his confirmed 36 cases of fraud. The committee is also looking into his work at other Dutch universities where fraud is being called ‘highly probable’, which will surely add to the big pile.
(Link: www.volkskrant.nl, Photo of the Erasmus University auditorium released into the public domain by Wikifrits)
While everybody has been distracted by other news, the Dutch Senate quietly passed two laws that allow the government to enter into people’s homes on suspicion on fraud without having a shred of proof. The second law states that anybody caught committing fraud for the second time will see their entire income automagically disappear for five whole years.
Anybody on benefits of any kind is ‘at risk’ of having a pencil pusher at their door at any time now. As well, anybody who receives money in the form of a government allocation (kids, housing, etc.) is also a candidate for a pencil pusher’s visit. Old people and parents are not amused.
All kinds of organisations are saying it’s disproportionate and highly controversial. Sure, the government wants to crack down on fraud, but this seems to go too far, even legally. If someone were to commit fraud twice and get caught, they’d have no benefits anymore to live on and will be forced to find a job, is the ‘logic’ behind the law.
I think they’ll force people into crime and poverty, and the media is going to have fun compiling the sob stories.