Danish social worker convicted of stealing millions

Danish social worker convicted of stealing millions

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A Danish woman has been convicted of stealing 117 million Danish kroner (£13m; $17m) of government funding.

Britta Nielsen worked at Denmark’s social services board for 40 years, distributing funding to people in need. But in 2018 she was accused of siphoning money to her own pockets.

A Copenhagen court sentenced her to six and half years in prison on Tuesday.

The case is unusual for Denmark, a country known internationally for its transparency and low corruption levels.

Nielsen fled to South Africa after the accusations surfaced. She agreed to return to Denmark after Interpol issued an arrest warrant.

She was accused of embezzling cash for more than 25 years.

Nielsen worked at the Socialstyrelsen, the National Board of Health and Welfare. Groups like the Danish Cystic Fibrosis Association and the Danish Deaf Association were allocated funds, and it was her job to send them the money.

In 2017, she was awarded an official Silver Medal of Merit for her years of service.

According to the Nordic Labour Journal, Nielsen’s defence argued during her trial that it was easy for her to take funds and that there were no safeguards in place to stop abuse of the system.

“It was a standing joke that you could easily add your own account number and then be off to the Bahamas,” the 65-year-old reportedly told the court.__BBC

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