Authorities uncover a 2.5 million euro Social Security fraud in Almeria's greenhouse construction sector

Recently, the National Police announced that, in collaboration with the General Treasury of Social Security, it had uncovered a 2,477,750 euro fraud to Social Security in the greenhouse construction sector in the town of Roquetas de Mar, Almeria.

"Eleven people have been arrested for their alleged participation in a business network implicated in 23 crimes against social security and 22 concealments of assets. The detained entrepreneurs had taken over the sector, using workers from the companies as frontmen and companies with a large amount of labor that carried out jobs subcontracted by other larger companies in this area.

The investigation began in September 2022 when authorities became aware of the irregular actions carried out by the administrators of different companies in the construction of greenhouses in Roquetas de Mar to circumvent their payment obligations with Social Security.

"After several investigations, the agents discovered that there were different entrepreneurs responsible for a corporate network, which used an opaque succession of companies to transfer activities to each other to continue working at a low price, to build greenhouses without paying their workers' or their own social insurance."

"The parties responsible for this business network had taken over the market for the construction of greenhouses through a defined modus operandi: they used companies with a large amount of labor, mainly dedicated to carrying out the subcontracted work of other larger companies in the sector. By not paying the social insurance of their workers, the prices they offered were much lower than those of other companies that did meet their obligations. It was a direct fraud as they avoided paying social security quotas while their profit margins increased, and they were subcontracted by larger companies, which benefited from the low prices offered by the investigated companies since it was cheaper for them to subcontract their work than to carry it out themselves."

"The whole sector is aware of this issue, but no one dares to speak about it out of fear"
An agricultural entrepreneur who requested the services of the greenhouse construction company acknowledged toía that the country's Treasury Department (Hacienda) had sanctioned him with a 200,000 euro fine for not paying this company's VAT. "Everybody is aware of this issue, but nobody dares to speak about it out of fear," he stressed.

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