An Italian man accused of not showing up for work for the past 15 years now faces extortion charges

a boat parked on the side of a building: A view of the "Arnaldo Pugliese Ciaccio" Hospital in Catanzaro. Photo by Alfonso Di Vincenzo/KONTROLAB/LightRocket via Getty Images

An Italian man in the southern city of Catanzaro raked in hundreds of thousands of euros from his job as a hospital worker over the last 15 years. Authorities say he hasn’t been to work since 2005.

The man dubbed the “king of absentees” by the Italian press is accused of skipping work while collecting full pay for the last decade and a half, according to BBC News.

Now 66, Salvatore Scumace allegedly stopped showing up to his civil servant job at the Ciaccio hospital in 2005, Italian news agency Ansa reported.

Fifteen years later, he faces charges of fraud, abuse of office, and aggravated extortion, The Guardian reported. Authorities have accused Scumache of threatening his manager, the hospital director at the time, to stop her from taking disciplinary action over his absenteeism.

When his manager retired, Scumace was able to continue his streak of absenteeism because his attendance was reportedly never checked by the director’s successor or human resources.

Six managers at the hospital are also being investigated on suspicion they enabled the man’s truancy streak, an ongoing problem in Italian’s public sector, according to The Guardian.

His arrest is the result of a lengthy police investigation, codenamed Part Time, launched by Italian authorities looking into absenteeism and fraud in the public sector, the BBC reported.

Authorities used salary and attendance records as well as witness statements from colleagues to build their case.

The Italian government tightened a law in 2016 aimed at preventing rampant absenteeism among public employees in the country.

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