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Social worker steals from orphans in his care

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Social worker steals from orphans in his care
Photo: DPA
14:30 CET+01:00
An employee of the child welfare agency in Göttingen allegedly stole more then €400,000 from orphans and other young people he was assigned to over a five-year period. He used the money to support a lavish lifestyle.

"The man faces charges in just under 580 cases," Hans Hugo Heimgärtner, spokesman for the Göttingen prosecutors' office, told the Göttinger Tageblatt newspaper, which reported the story on Saturday.

The 56-year-old, who has now been suspended, was assigned as a guardian to orphaned children or others who had been placed with child protective services. In that function, he was tasked with administering their bank accounts and inheritance matters.

According to prosecutors, between 2004 and 2009 he is alleged to have made regular transfers of several hundred euros from bank accounts belonging to 54 of his charges to his own. Larger amounts would be transferred among several different accounts until finally ending up in his pocket.

He apparently used the money to finance a luxurious lifestyle, which included expensive watches and cars.

In 2009, a young person noticed irregularities in his account and informed authorities, who then began an investigation. Prosecutors have charged the man with embezzlement and computer fraud, among other offences.

DAPD/DPA

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