Seven criminal complaints have been issued against 493 federal government employees for the misappropriation of funds allocated to a pension program called 65 and Over.
The head of the Social Development Secretariat, known as Sedesol, said the charges were filed with the federal Attorney General in connection with the alleged embezzlement of 19 million pesos, or US $930,000.
Luis Miranda Nava said the misappropriations were discovered by an audit conducted last January to identify risks and opportunities in the program.
It found there were 3,989 phony registrations in the system. The fingerprints of the fake registrants matched those of the accused employees.
Miranda said concrete measures would be put in place for next year to prevent further mismanagement of the program, which provides benefits to 5.5 million people aged 65 and over.
He told a press conference that other initiatives being addressed by Sedesol include the setting up of bank accounts for 2 million beneficiaries who do not have one and the implementation of a new system to confirm that beneficiaries are alive and kicking.
Under the current system many have to line up for hours at federal offices twice a year to prove they haven’t died.