London, Sept 10 (ANI): An unemployed barman in France has been arrested after he claimed that he fathered 55 African babies in a bid to get their mothers to move to the country on full benefits.
The Frenchman, 54, who cannot be named but who has a Sengalese background, is said to have cost the country more than a million pounds in fraudulent social security payments with his scam.
Now he faces up to 10 years in prison and could be made to pay five figure fines after being charged with making false paternity declarations and aiding and abetting the filing of false administrative documents.
The man, who registered the 55 women and their children at his two bedroom flat near the Gare du Nord Eurostar terminal in Paris, claims to be the children's father, and he has agreed to DNA tests also.
He is said to have met some of the women in bars, discos, and even 'on the street' of Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, while others he met in Senegal, the former French colony.
Some are said to have paid him for his services, while others are said to have had a genuine personal relationship.
"Some were claiming up to 7,500 euros a month in various social security benefits," the Daily Mail quoted a detective close to the case as saying.
"It cost the man around 150 euros to register each of his partners and their babies, meaning the potential profits were absolutely enormous.
"There is no evidence that the man was actually living with any of his families. All of this has cost the state well over a million euros," the detective added.
Police seized all of the documents registering the women and their children during a raid on the suspect's flat on August 31.
Detectives had been tipped off about the fraud as early as December 2009, but were not granted a search warrant until last month when the man was arrested for an unconnected offence.
"He is currently undergoing DNA tests to see how many of the 55 babies are genuinely his," the police source said.
The women, aged between 25- and 50-years old, face deportation if they are found guilty of obtaining administrative documents illegally, or abetting a fraudulent declaration of paternity.
Of 17 women tracked down so far, all are claiming that the man was genuinely the father of their children.
The man, who is thought to be a bachelor who has never been married before, is now set to be released on bail.
Strict conditions will include a nighttime curfew, visiting a police station every day, and not contacting any of his alleged lovers. (ANI)