The government department that investigates money laundering and terrorist financing remarkably often sees a link between healthcare fraud and the financing of terrorism. The service, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), has access to numerous information flows, from police to intelligence services, but also from banks and from, for example, the Financial Markets Authority.
“We noticed that at some point we received more and more reports from banks, but also accountants, who had to deal with healthcare fraud based on our analysis,” says FIU director Hennie Verbeek-Kusters.
“Services in position”
In the House of Representatives, several parties have great concerns about the possible link between healthcare fraud and terrorist financing. VVD MP Roald van der Linde: “There is too little capacity to monitor these practices. We need more people.”
D66 MP Maarten Groothuizen considers the case of healthcare fraud becoming increasingly serious. “We really have a problem.”
Minister of Justice Ferd Grapperhaus wants to focus more on investigating the connection between various forms of crime, such as the financing of terrorism through care fraud. “I make sure that my services are in position,” he says.
The FIU investigated the connection. “We have come to the conclusion that some of the cases related to healthcare fraud also have to do with people being monitored for jihadism or possible terrorist preparation.” According to the FIU director, this concerns twenty percent of the cases.
International studies also show the link between crime and terrorist financing, says Verbeek-Kusters. “This type of crime (healthcare fraud, ed) leads very easily to making a lot of money and then you end up with the financing of terrorism. That must then also be verified in criminal investigations, that this apparently goes very easily.”
Last year, FIU noticed for the first time that people who came forward as potential care fraudsters could be linked to terrorism files. “We saw in one of our analyzes that a director of such a healthcare company received a lot of money in a year’s time. Then it is really about several tons. This man took three quarters of that money in cash. That is not a common way of dealing with money in this sector, “says Verbeek-Kusters.
The suspect cash withdrawal was reported by the bank. “We then found that this director potentially had a relationship with jihadism. That may be because he is in the family circle of someone who has traveled or has been about to leave. So that is an example.”
Faucet is open
Every case or analysis involving care fraud related to the financing of terrorism is reported to the Public Prosecution Service. But it is so easy to commit healthcare fraud that the amount of cases is far too large to be able to deal with under criminal law.
“The tap is open. That’s the problem we see. And we pick up the things we can, and criminal law certainly plays a role, but we can’t solve it as long as the tap stays open,” said officer of justice Laurien van Haeringen in last month News Hour.
Tomorrow the House of Representatives will debate the healthcare fraud. Then it is up to Minister Hugo de Jonge of Health to come up with answers. He is ultimately about tackling healthcare fraud.