The government in Brazil provides little if any supervision over private and public matters such a fraud, especially when related to the INSS, the National Institute of Social Security. In this article we will look at how you can report fraud in Brazil.
Fraud is defined as a type of deception in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain. As it is both a civil and criminal wrong, the fraudster is sometimes subject to severe penalties. Brazilian law has separate approaches for different types of fraud. The most common of them larceny, qualifies for jail time from one to five years and payment of a fine.
Most other types of fraud qualify for a fine and/or jail time from 15 days to 6 years based on how serious the court considers the fraud. This includes:
- Falsification of a bill of sale
- Abusing of others in order to make them commit an unlawful act
- Deceiving a customer in the exercise of a commercial activity
- Using a public or private service without having the resources to pay for it
- Illegally altering information in a legal document
For first time offenders and if the fraud does not involve a significant amount of money, the judge can choose to impose the penalties related to robbery, which are significantly lower.
Procedures after denunciation of fraud
If a person receiving Social Security benefits is found committing a fraud scheme the benefit is immediately suspended. The fraudster will then receive a note from the INSS with a deadline for them to return the benefits that were given to them irregularly from the INSS. The INSS will then pass the details of the fraud to the Federal Police. The Federal Police will then summon the fraudster to make a testimony.
If the denunciation was made to the Ministério Público, Portuguese for Public Prosecutor’s Office and then found to be true it is then that the Military Police is notified and takes charge of the investigation.
Services for denunciation of fraud
Any individual willing to denunciate any fraud relating to the National Institute of Social Security can contact the nearest INSS office and personally perform the denunciation to any INSS employee. They will then forward the information to the area of the Ministério da Previdência Social, Portuguese for Ministry of Social Security who is responsible for investigating frauds.
General Ombudsman Service
There is a General Ombudsman Service for the Social Security service in Brazil. It can be reached by dialing telephone number 135 and by pressing the number 4. The service is available 24/7, however if the person wants to be answered by an attendant the hours of operation are from 8:00 to 23:00, from Monday to Saturday.
Any person or entity may make a verbal or written complaint to the Ministério Público for any type of fraud. The Ministério Público is then obligated to investigate and make the necessary arrangements. When forwarded to the Ministério Público, a written denunciation is called a public representation.
The Ministério Público is a government body responsible for the defense of social interests to ensure citizenship in a society. Thus, anyone can submit a complaint or denunciation to it. The denunciation can also be anonymous if made by phone or online.