Six people from the same family, members of the association specializing in the reception of children placed by ASE “A roof for you” in Générest, are suspected of having embezzled more than 1 million euros in support of the county council.
Two years of investigation, a case more than 70 cm thick, and more than a million euros in criminal assets seized by bagnères-de-Bigorre gendarmes. On 14 June, six members of the same family and the office of the association specializing in the reception of children placed by Childhood Social Assistance (ASE) “A roof for you”, established in Générest and Anère in Hautes-Pyrénées, were arrested and placed in police custody.
Suspected of breach of trust, fraud, tax evasion and money laundering, the leading couple and their relatives have set up a system to take the lead by redirecting part of the assistance provided by the Hautes-Pyrénées Departmental Council to the care of foster children . And this for several years.
“This association from 1901 is financed exclusively by public funds, in particular those granted by the departmental council of Hautes-Pyrénées. The audit by an auditor in 2020 revealed excessive purchases that did not meet the association’s purpose,” says the head of Bagnères. company, Paul Sandevoir.
“Alert, the public prosecutor seized the gendarmerie in Saint-Laurent-de-Neste and requested a full judicial inquiry. At the same time, the department council, victim of the erratic management of the association, filed a complaint.”
And to pay tribute to the perseverance of the Director of Investigation, Police Officer David A. of the Saint-Laurent-de-Neste Brigade, who with the support of the Interregional Gendarmerie Group in Toulouse (GIRG) worked to unravel the bag of knots, auditor of the association with suspicious expenses.
Stones and cars
Place of Independent Living (LVA) created in 2014 in Générest, “A roof for you” is in favor of well-being and psychological reconstruction of the welcome children. On the website of the association, which employs several staff totally acquitted in the case, we can read all the good intentions of the leadership couple regarding children in difficulty.
Our residence proposes to welcome six teenagers from seven to twenty-one years old in individual rooms. We like this image of protection of the “roof”, the young person who is welcomed must feel safe to settle down and be Although the preliminary study has shown that the children have not been subjected to physical or mental abuse, great savings have been made by the association, especially by “arranging the tax system” and by enjoying of various benefits in kind.
“For example, they collected unsold food from supermarkets,” the gendarmes clarify without going into detail with the investigation. But to cover expenses in connection with pension, housing, care, education … the department council pays a monthly envelope of approx. 4,500 euros pr. children placed in the structure. “The savings thus obtained were then passed on to family members in the form of bonuses, in addition to pleasant salaries.”
In addition, several vehicles have been procured by the association under the pretext of being able to transport the children to their doctor or other appointments. The latter rarely had the pleasure of climbing up the Mégane Sport or the other race cars, as the couple preferred to use taxi companies to drive their residents.
The investigation continues
“The police detention and the searches carried out helped to support the hypotheses formulated during the investigation. The seizures made relating to real estate, a dozen vehicles and financial products exceed one million euros.”
A fine catch for the gendarmerie, which has mobilized many resources for two years on this far-reaching case. “A land assessment expert located near the Pau Court of Appeal, six staff from the GIRG in Toulouse and 2 soldiers from the research brigade in Meaux (77), reinforced the action of the 24 gendarmes in the group of the Gendarmerie in Hautes-Pyrénées.”
If the acquired goods have been seized, some still remain in the enjoyment of the building. At a time when the wards are suffering from a cruel shortage of accommodation for children in care, the decision was made by the judge investigating the case to keep “A roof for you” in operation.
The couple and their relatives were released after 48 hours in police custody. The preliminary investigation continues to determine the degree of responsibility of each individual in this case.