Five employees of Segurança Social (the Portuguese social security system) will be put on trial in February, along with 18 other defendants who were allegedly involved in a scheme to illegally create and modify NISS (social security identification numbers) for immigrants.
Prosecutors say that the officials involved created several thousand NISS for immigrants — most of whom were from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — in exchange for payment. They earned a total of more than €1 million from the scheme, as reported by Observador and Público.
Between January 2015 and June 2017, the five Segurança Social employees allegedly created and altered the registrations of foreign citizens when required documents were lacking. They worked at the Segurança Social offices in Areeiro — one of the busiest in the country — as well as in Marvila and Cacém.
One official from the Areeiro office is accused of creating 4,969 NISS and earning more than 800 thousand euros, more than 70 thousand of which was discovered hidden in his home and car.
This official supposedly received between 100 and 200 euros for each ID number, and also provided information to third parties about the individuals registered. Público reported that he performed searches on 1,040 people, earning one euro for each search.
In March 2018, the defendants were charged with corruption, abuse of power, illegal access, and forgery.
In addition to the five employees of Segurança Social, 18 other individuals are accused of acting as intermediaries. Most of them are legally registered immigrants who allegedly attracted other immigrants to participate in the scheme, according to Público.