A 60-year-old man was detained by the authorities after they learned that he had been living with his mother’s mummy for six years to collect the woman’s pension. The investigation began after he did not answer calls from social services or make a claim on his health insurance card.
According to authorities, the man had told neighbors in Italy’s Veneto region that his mother, identified as Helga Maria Hengbarth, had moved to her home country of Germany to enjoy her retirement. However, it was he who was claiming his pension, which amounted to 30,000 euros per year.
During the scam, which lasted six years, the man managed to raise around 180,000 euros while lying with his mother’s corpse. On May 25, 2023, firefighters and Italian police, along with social services, entered the house registered in Helga’s name and found her decomposed body.
The woman was found wrapped up in a body bag that was on the bed in the room she shared with her son when he was alive. Although the man was not home at the time of the raid, he presented himself to police shortly afterwards and pleaded guilty to defrauding the government for six years.
The investigation began with the authorities’ inability to contact the woman and the fact that the retiree did not make any claims on her health insurance card, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Without a death record, police officers began to grow suspicious that something was amiss, until they performed an autopsy on the house where his son lived, which led to the discovery of the body.
For now, prosecutors Bruno Bruni and Alberto Sergi have ordered an autopsy to determine the cause and circumstances of the pensioner’s death. Similarly, police officials are probing to ascertain how it was possible that the man, who has not been identified, managed to claim money from his dead mother.