32 arrests in immigration scams in Potenza and Messina

Stay permits sold in Potenza, fake marriages arranged in Messina

(ANSA) - ROME, DEC 9 - A total of 32 people were arrested in the southern cities of Potenza and Messina in probes into two separate scams to give migrants fraudulent stay permits in Italy.
    Potenza police placed 16 people under house arrest for providing nine-month stay permits to migrants.
    Potenza prosecutors placed 56 people under investigation in the local area and in Milan, Florence, Foggia and La Spezia.
    The alleged scam gang charged migrants 5,000 euros per permit, but gave discounts as far as 1,500 euros on the basis of the number of requests or personal or family relationships, police said.
    In Messina, meanwhile, police arrested another 16 people (five taken to prison and 11 placed under house arrest) on suspicion of belonging to two criminal groups who allegedly enabled irregular non-EU migrants to stay in Italy by arranging bogus marriages with Italian women.
    The scam involved multiple fake marriages featuring men from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, police said.
    Some migrants who had been expelled from Italy allegedly gained re-entry via the suspected scam.
    Each fake marriage cost some 10,000 euros, police said. (ANSA).


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