Aug. 28 (UPI) — A South Korean flight attendant was arrested after falsifying information about childbirth and collecting more than $43,000 in welfare benefits from the government.
The defendant, identified only by her surname Ryu, had reported to government ministries and to her company she had given birth to two children, but the information was found to be false, Yonhap news agency reported Monday.
South Korea struggles with a chronic low birthrate and provides ample financial incentives and subsidized healthcare for newborns and their mothers.
The arrest came after six months of local police investigations.
Ryu had fabricated births of two children, reporting one birth in March 2010, and a second birth in September 2012.
But Ryu in fact has only one child: a baby born in late June, possibly out of wedlock, according to the report.
The flight attendant, who is in her 40s, was living with her mother-in-law after being separated from her husband.
Ryu reported the births in Seoul’s Gangnam district, securing nearly $9,000 in a government “rearing allowance,” $16,000 from her company during maternity leave, and nearly $18,000 from her employment insurance benefits.
Police found Ryu had listed the name of a physician who had died in 2007.
They also believe Ryu’s ex-husband may have been involved in the scheme to procure illicit funds: The spouse received remittances to his account following distribution, according to Yonhap.
Investigators also found Ryu’s “first child” had never enrolled at a local elementary school and there were no medical records following the reported birth in 2010.
The defendant’s mother-in-law will not be penalized, although she may have known of the fraud before the investigation, Yonhap reported.