A 70-year-old Swedish woman has been sentenced for embezzlement and perfidy after stealing money from an unaccompanied refugee child for whom she had been appointed guardian. The money was used to fuel the woman’s gambling addiction.
The elderly woman was appointed custodian and legal guardian over an unaccompanied refugee child in Nordmaling Municipality, Västerbotten County in 2014-2015. Around the same time she began stealing the boy’s government benefits, effectively transferring portions of money to her own account on no fewer than 29 occasions.
In total, the woman reportedly stole over SEK 100,000 ($12,000) the boy had received as benefits and study funds on a monthly basis from social services. The stolen money was later used to feed the woman’s gambling habit, Swedish national broadcaster SVT reported.
The woman was slapped with a conditional sentence and daily fines by the Umeå District Court for embezzlement and breach of faith. She will also pay SEK 45,000 ($5,400) to the victim in damages. The woman was also suspected of manipulating another person in the same way, but was acquitted of the charges.
In 2015, Sweden received a record 35,000 asylum applications from so-called “unaccompanied children,” followed by another 2,200 in 2016. The recent figures from the National Board of Forensic Medicine have indicated, however, that over 83 percent of the age-tested unaccompanied refugees proved to be adults. According to Swedish law, no person under the age of 18 may be expelled.
Sweden remains a desired destination for many immigrants for its generous system of taxpayer-funded benefits with a cumulative effect, which allows a newcomer to pick thousands of kronor in assistance without working a single day.