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Finding Swimming Pools with Google Earth

Published:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,709703,00.html

(Story from 2010)

Greek Government Hauls in Billions in Back Taxes

In a bid to increase revenues, the Greek authorities are employing all kinds of clever tricks to crack down on tax cheats*, including using Google Earth to find undeclared swimming pools.

...

They use police helicopters to fly over Athens' affluent suburbs and make films of homes owned by doctors, lawyers and businesspeople. They use satellite pictures by Google Earth to locate country villas, swimming pools and properties. And these tactics have revealed that the suburbs didn't have 324 swimming pools, as was reported, but rather 16,974.

Tax fraud investigators spent a number of weeks on nightclub parking lots in Athens and noted down the registration numbers of luxury sedans. Their investigation revealed that approximately 6,000 car owners have vehicles worth €100,000, but only reported to the tax authorities that they have an annual income of €10,000.

*tax cheat: noun. Someone who earns a living by producing goods and services that other people actually want and tries to keep their money out of the hands of worthless bureaucraps.

Entry #722

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