The police and the economic service fighting electronic crime have revealed, in a joint operation, frauds issuing fake medical certificates for dyslexia. Three women employed at the Children's Hospital in the suburb of Pendeli and at Sismanoglio Hospital have been accused of selling fake certificates even to students in their last year of secondary school, so that they can sit for only oral examinations for universities.
The economic service began investigating the case after complaints had been made, which revealed the three women aged 73, 54 and 48 years, who were selling fake certificates for amounts of between 300-900 euro. The authorities have accused them of fraud and forgery of certificates.
According to a police release, 59 of them had been issued by the Children's Hospital in Pendeli. The signatures of doctors and administrative directors and their deputies affixed on them have been proven forged. The remaining 62 certificates were issued by the Sismanoglio Hospital. Most of them had no protocol number and the protocol number on others corresponded with the names of other patients. On some certificates, the doctors did not recognize "their" signatures.
The woman aged 73 played the main role in the fraud. In her statements for Alpha TV, she said that it was not her fault but the doctors’. She has retired from Sismanoglio Hospital and is now the owner of a logopaedic centre in the Athens suburb of Halandri. Her sister has also recently opened a similar centre on the island of Leros. After retiring at the end of 2006, she remained at the hospital for another six months. During this period, she issued certificates, signing them herself or affixing forged signatures of the specific physicians responsible for the issuing of certificates.
Even after leaving the hospital, the woman continued to issue certificates with the help of her accomplice, aged 48. The accomplice was a secretary of the ward of the psychologist, aged 54, at the hospital in Pendeli.
In most cases, she was selling the fake certificates, but sometimes she provided them to customers in the logopaedic centre free of charge. Investigating authorities found out that the woman had also mediated for the parents of children, who actually suffered from dyslexia, when they could not receive the certificates in time, mixed up in the maze of bureaucracy.
Such was the case of a father who sought assistance. The woman informed him that the assistance would cost 500 euro. He refused to pay and notified the police.
Those, who requested certificates, will also be investigated to determine whether they are responsible, because it has appeared that legitimate certificates were requested in many cases and the received documents were forged.
Such fake certificates of dyslexia have previously been found in many other places such as Lesbos, Leros, Rhodes, Thessaloniki, Serres, Piraeus. Therefore, the Ministry of Education each year gives strict instructions to local services to verify the certificates presented to them and to compare the data with hospitals’ data.
Only a few days ago, two students, who had submitted fake certificates to take advantage of the opportunity to sit for oral exams for universities that are much easier, were caught and sent to the prosecutor.
The findings have alarmed the educational institution, where a major inspection has been initiated and a change in the law regulating the testing of students with dyslexia and the certificates they should receive is not excluded. The number of those, holding university entrance exams is very high.
Almost two thousand of 95 thousand graduates from secondary schools sit for oral examinations supposedly because of dyslexia. The situation is even more scandalous with graduates from vocational colleges, where nearly one thousand of 20 thousand "suffer" from dyslexia.
Under the law, students suffering from specific diseases that do not allow them to express themselves in writing may sit for oral examinations. The material of the exam is the same as well as the duration of the exam. However, the commission may extend the time if it considers the student's request reasonable.
Dyslexia is a disability affecting reading and spelling. In most cases, it is hereditary and occurs more often in boys. The reason for it is the different structure of the visual system and the brain function. Dyslexics think very quickly, transferring pictures, while an average mind thinks slowly and with words.
This makes dyslexics exceptionally talented and ingenious in different areas, as one of GRReporter’s videos - "Lennie’s World" - showed its readers.