Cyprus Mail

Suspects in alleged homeless scam released (updated)

Limassol district court

Three suspects held on suspicion of ripping off the state to the tune of at least €200,000 in a homeless scam in Limassol, were released on Friday, but the man suspected of being the ringleader, 46, was immediately re-arrested for unpaid fines.

Last Monday, a Limassol court ruled that three suspects, a 57-year-old hotel owner, a 66-year-old employee and 46-year-old who headed the organisation to help the homeless, were remanded in custody for another four days to give police time to gather more evidence.

The hotel owner and his employee were released at around lunchtime. The 46-year-old was released earlier but was promptly detained anew in connection with outstanding warrants relating to unpaid fines.

The suspect was taken to Nicosia’s Central Prisons.

Earlier, the Cyprus News Agency reported that the trio were going to be released on the advice of the attorney-general pending the investigation.

This was because police were having problems tracking down the homeless people they need to testify in the case and another remand would not be justified, the report said.

The three were arrested on October 13 on suspicion of extorting money under false pretences by charging the state at least €200,000 over the period August 2018 to July 2019 for use of the hotel to house homeless people.

They had sent invoices totalling over €170,000 to cover the months since. However, many of the people the hotel claimed money for were not staying there, police have said.

Police admitted on Monday that around 45 homeless people were listed to testify in the case but added that finding them all might be difficult.


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