Man Allegedly Skipped Work at Hospital but Still got Paid for 15 Years

After allegedly cashing paychecks without putting in any work for the last 15 years, a hospital employee has finally been busted by authorities.

Italian police officers launched an investigation on the "king of absentees" Salvatore Scumace on Wednesday. Authorities in Puglia claim he threatened his boss' family to ensure he would get away with his scheme and he later took advantage of others unaware of his crime.

According to a report from The Guardian, Scumace collected a monthly paycheck from the Pugliese Ciaccio Hospital, despite not actually performing any work. It is estimated that the 66-year-old con artist has since collected about €538,000, over $645,000 USD, during the course of 15 years.

A report from L'Unione Sarda traced the history of absenteeism to 2005. Authorities claim that "a very distinguished person" forced the hospital director at the time to not report Scumace for his scheduling abuses. The unidentified mystery person threatened him and his family's safety if he were to file a disciplinary summons against Scumace.

When the initial director retired, neither his successor nor the hospital's human resources department realized Scumace was not coming into work, The Guardian reported.

Scumace, hired as a safety officer for the Fire Emergency Operations Center, continued the charade until last year when a formal complaint was filed and authorities were alerted. It was not immediately clear who caught on to him or what caused the discovery.

He was fired in October 2020 and subsequently arrested. Police gathered evidence of his alleged crimes from thorough witness interviews and close readings of the attendance log from the last several years. They called the project "Operation Part-Time."

Scumace has officially been charged with abuse of office, forgery and aggravated extortion, according to The Guardian. ANSA News reported that six of his superiors at the hospital are also being investigated for allegedly enabling the 15-year absence.

Scumace isn't the only mastermind when it comes to getting paid without working. In April 2020, a man married his wife four times and divorced her thrice in an effort to extend his paid time off from work.

Italian Hospital
An Italian hospital employee allegedly cashed his checks but did not show up to work for 15 years. TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images