They defrauded 100,000 euros from Caf and Pôle emploi, a couple of Gard breeders convicted

They defrauded 100,000 euros from Caf and Pôle emploi, a couple of Gard breeders convicted

A hearing at the Alès criminal court. Midi Free – ALEXIS BETHUNE

In Brignon, the couple did not declare income but collected the rental of real estate and the sale of their livestock, in cash.

Karl, a 51-year-old former plasterer, de facto manager of the agricultural operation located in Brignon, closed his business, but continued his activity by charging & ldquo;to the dark”. Jamila, 46 years old, registered with the Chamber of Agriculture, also works on the farm.

However, no income linked to the sale of calves, lambs, sheep is declared and social benefits are paid by the Caf and Pôle emploi. Even the rent for a rented house is collected in cash.

Requests for regularization never made

This Friday, the couple, accused of fraud, are at the helm of the Alès criminal court. The man and woman, parents of five children, are also indicted for various offenses relating to their undeclared breeding, in particular for clandestine slaughter and hidden work.

Caf reported the anomalies and attempted to regularize the couple's situation for two years. Without success since during the period, the erroneous declarations for the RSA continued.

A zebu bought at the Médrano circus

Alert, the gendarmes of the Alès research brigade continued the investigations. According to investigators, in addition to the 100,000 euros; unduly received, the income from the exploitation was estimated at more than 90,000 euros; between 2016 and 2021.

"It’is impossible to quantify precisely since’no animal recorded on the farm exists legal", explains the president of the hearing during the investigation of the case. Surprising detail, a zebu would have been bought at the Médrano circus.

Witnesses claim that the farm housed several hundred lambs in the run-up to the Eid holidays. Viscera was found in the Gardon, not very far from the couple's plots. Meat was found in the trunk of an individual at the time of the religious festival. Payment for the lamb would have been made in cash.

Livestock has no legal existence, without traceability or health controls. The Alès slaughterhouse has never received a single animal to be slaughtered from this operation, which questions the magistrates.

In court, the two defendants struggle to confirm the statements made during their hearings where they admitted most of the facts.

The man recognizes the hidden work as a plasterer "in order to make ends meet". He admits to working full time on the farm since 2014, not having made the declarations, but refutes the wild slaughter of his livestock on his land.

Lack of evidence for defense lawyers

The defense lawyers, Anaïs Farget and Gilbert Bekale, explain that “the debt has been recalculated and the balance of the RSA debt is 3 600 €. Every month we withdraw 200 € on the 900 € social benefits paid to them. It’s a precarious family that has made mistakes but must face real relentlessness. We fantasize about the number of animals on this farm. This file would have merited an instruction to go further in the investigations."

Guilt established for the prosecution, property seized

For the prosecution, the guilt is certain: "the couple enriched themselves on the back of national solidarity. Even if Caf has recovered part of the debt, this attitude, which lasted for years, deserves to be sanctioned."

The court went beyond the requisitions of the public prosecutor by pronouncing for the couple, a suspended prison sentence of 18 months, 5,000 euros fine, 600 euros in fines for offenses linked to the slaughter of animals, prohibits the profession of breeder for five years, and finally by confiscating agricultural land but also the house, which had not requested the floor.

The couple could appeal the decision.

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