A man has been accused of failing to turn up for work for over 15 years whilst pocketing a full wage.
Hospital safety worker Salvatore Scumace, 66, cost the Italian state €538,000 – around £450,000 – after not showing up when he landing the job in 2005.
He falsely claimed to work as a fire officer in the Pugliese-Ciaccio Hospital in Catanzaro, according to a local media report.
The work-shy man is now being investigated for fraud, extortion and abuse of office, Italian news agency Ansa claims.
Scumace was only seen by colleagues once, on the day he went to sign his contract, according to The Telegraph.
Six managers at the Italian hospital are also being probed as legal action was launched.
Domenico Canino, 62, Nino Critelli, 66, Vittorio Prejanò, 64, Maria Pia De Vito, 68, Laura Fondacaro, 52, and Antonio Molè, 53, are also under investigation.
He allegedly threatened the family of hospital directors and vowed to hurt them if he was found out.
The arrests are the result of a lengthy “police investigation into absenteeism and suspected fraud in the Italian public sector”.
The civil servant stopped going into work 16 years ago, the police said.
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Officers accused him of threatening his manager to stop her from filing a disciplinary report.
That manager later retired, police added, and his ongoing absence was never noticed by her successor or human resources.
It was also reported that 57 other employees supposedly working at the hospital have been fired recently for not showing up.
The issue illustrates Italy’s problem with public service absenteeism, officials believe.