The bill did not add up

Originally, a farmer from the district of bamberg should pay a fine of 9000 euros, according to the bamberg public prosecutor’s office. She had not registered two employees with the AOK bavaria and thus withheld about 26000 euros from the social funds. At the district court of bamberg, criminal court judge christine schal sentenced her to a fine of only 2100 euros for 14 counts of withholding and embezzling pay. But this is far from the end of the financial consequences …

The fields are dry, the coffers are empty. Business is not good. The farm has been in the red for years. The couple have just 750 euros a month to live on together. The 51-year-old farmer took great pains to save money between may 2017 and june 2018. By not registering at least two of its employees for social security in the first place. The slovenians received their wages in cash. "Black money" called the farmer in a whatsapp chat that would become her hangover like other text messages.

Not an isolated case

A similar thing seems to have happened with some other animal caretakers and harvest workers as well as interns. "We are not talking about a single case. They had new people in the yard all the time", according to judge schal. "No one was registered". For all of them, there was room and board, but no contributions to unemployment, pension, health or nursing care insurance. According to the defendant, the employees from poland, slovakia and slovenia in particular did not attach any importance to such security. "What matters to them is what they have at the end of the month".

"It’s still a crime not to register people", according to judge schal. Apparently, the employer and the employee could not make such a deal between themselves. Before judge schal, the accused farmer now played the victim of ubler’s machinations. She herself had been lied to and deceived. Her slovenian co-worker also tried to blackmail his client, explained lawyer thomas drehsen from bamberg. He wanted 10,000 euros, or he would go to the police. After a house search, of all things, the ex-employee attacked and choked her in the house. She did not, however, provide any evidence of the assault.

On top of that

The inconspicuous woman with the quiet voice could convince neither judge schal nor prosecutor patrick keller with that. "You write about official and unofficial money", according to judge schal. So it was clear that it was about illegal work. "They knew exactly what they were doing", according to prosecutor keller. There had been no contract for work or invoices indicating that he was self-employed.

However, the idea with the black money now turned out to be a tremendous extra payment. The main customs office in schweinfurt became aware of the company in the bamberg district when one of the helpers from slovenia informed the police, probably out of revenge. Without further ado, a fine of 10,500 euros was imposed for non-registration and violation of the minimum wage law. The farmer is now paying off the sum in monthly installments of 500 euros each. In addition, the missing social security contributions in the amount of about 25 800 euros must be paid in arrears. And then there are another 140 daily rates of 15 euros each, i.E. 2100 euros in fines, which judge schal imposed – and of course the court costs.

The more than 90 day sentence also means that the farmer now has a criminal record for the first time in her life. As she said, however, in reference to her staff: "it’s hard to find people who are neat and honest."

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