An Italian man has been arrested by police for fraud after falsely claiming €137,000 in benefits by pretending to be disabled.
The 55-year-old from Florence pretended to have various disabilities for over 10 years.
Police said his scam started in 2007 when he staged a road accident with an accomplice.
He took on multiple identities, including a Carabinieri police officer who needed to use a wheelchair after being injured in a shootout.
At one point the man injected himself lidocaine — a local anaesthetic used to numb tissue in a specific area — to simulate a decaying in his leg muscles, according to police.
He was even granted an audience with the Pope in 2015.
Evidence in the form of a testimony from a former carer and photos and videos filmed in secret that show him walking were finally used to expose the Italian.
He was arrested when he returned to Florence airport after a holiday in Togo, where police footage showed him walking off the plane.