Epilepsy=€€€?: benefits racket inspires cheeky Simpsons graffiti

The unfolding benefit fraud racket which has seen a former Labour MP implicated in a scheme which saw people falsely claiming disability benefits, has inspired tongue-in-cheek graffiti featuring characters from the animated comedy The Simpsons. 

Times of Malta revealed last week that former PL MP Silvio Grixti, a doctor by profession, has been implicated in a huge benefit fraud scheme, which saw people receive forged and falsified documents to successfully receive a social security benefit that is meant for people who suffer from debilitating disabilities – which they were not legitimately entitled to.  

The fraud saw the claimants receive monthly payments averaging €450 from the social security department.

It seemed that the disability of choice for many of those illegitimately claiming the benefits appears to have been epilepsy. 

The artwork, in Triq Bellavista, features main character Homer Simpson, who in the show is depicted as lazy, conniving and somewhat dimwitted, pondering whether there’s any monetary value to be gained from falsely claiming to have epilepsy, a plot line that would not really be off the mark for a typical episode of The Simpsons. 

Uncaring police officers and the looming shadow of organised crime also appear to be depicted in the graffiti. Photo: Chris Sant FournierUncaring police officers and the looming shadow of organised crime also appear to be depicted in the graffiti. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Behind Homer, quack doctor Nick Riviera – a character whose medical competence is frequently called into question – is also depicted. The wall also features Springfield’s police chief Clancy Wiggum, who is characterised as a lazy gun aficionado with a penchant for abuse of power, leaning back and munching on a doughnut – no doubt a dig at perceived police inaction, while the character Fat Tony – a burly mobster holding a cigar as he stands in front of him menacingly. 

On Thursday, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that an estimated 160 people may have received illicit funds through the racket and has insisted that no other MPs or OPM officials are or ever have been involved in the illicit scheme. 

Some 141 have so far been ordered to return the funds that they were not entitled to, for a total of €2.1 million.

The Social Policy Ministry expects that number to climb even higher as it continues to comb through all 761 applications that were granted the benefit between 2019 and 2022. 

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