The Bulgarian City Boasting 30 Casinos and a £54 Million Scam

Land Based Casinos Crime
Alan Evans

Updated by Alan Evans

News Writer

Last Updated 12th Jun 2024, 04:10 PM

The Bulgarian City Boasting 30 Casinos and a £54 Million Scam

A gang of five Bulgarians running casinos were jailed last week after making 6,000 false claims for Universal Credit as part of a five-year swindle that cost the British taxpayer at least £54 million. 

A report in a national newspaper has highlighted the massive expense to the British taxpayer because of the frauds masterminded by a gang of Eastern Europeans based in Bulgaria.  

The article in the Daily Mail homes in on a ghetto in the city of Sliven in Bulgaria, where millions of pounds of taxpayer's money were sent as part of Britain's largest ever benefits fraud. 

As a result of criminal investigations and subsequent court cases, five gang members have been jailed having made in the region of 6,000 claims for benefits.   

City Within a City Blighted by Actions of Scammers 

The city of Sliven was once a thriving hub of industry dealing in textiles. Nadezhda is a city within the city of Sliven where the gang presided over their UK operation and flaunted their spoils with luxury cars, goods, and homes. Nadezhda has 20,000 residents. 

Locals pointed out that they were deeply ashamed of the actions of a minority of people.   

The 30 or so casinos are believed to be run by criminal organisations for the purposes of money laundering. 

When the Daily Mail visited, they said that there were luxury cars and jewellery shops located within the ghetto in contrast to the horse and carts and pop-up market stalls owned and run by the locals running legitimate businesses. 

The opening of 30 casinos and the construction of multi storey mansions aroused the suspicions of local police. Following a report to the British Embassy police in the UK raided homes in North London and uncovered ‘benefit factories. 

Justice Served on Bulgarian Scammers 

Five Bulgarian nationals appeared at Wood Green Crown Court last week.

Galina Nikolova Instagram post

Ringleader Galina Nikolova and accomplice Stoyan Stoyanov enjoying a lavish holiday in Turkey in 2020, funded by their £54m benefit scam. Image: Galina Nikolova's Instagram page)

The five were: 

Galina Nikolova, 38 

Stoyan Stoyanov, 27 

Tsvetka Todorova, 52 

Gyunesh Ali, 33 

Patritsia Paneva, 26 

The five were handed down prison sentences of between three and eight years after admitting the theft of £54 million in benefits.

Meet The Author

Alan Evans
Alan Evans
News Writer News Writer

Most of my career was spent in teaching including at one of the UK’s top private schools. I left London in 2000 and set up home in Wales raising four beautiful children. I enrolled at University where I studied Photography and film and gained a Degree and subsequently a Masters Degree. In 2014 I helped launch a new local newspaper and managed to get front and back page as well as 6 filler pages on a weekly basis. I saw that journalism was changing and was a pioneer of hyperlocal news in Wales. In 2017 I started one of the first 24/7 free independent news sites for Wales. Having taken that to a successful business model I was keen for a new challenge. Joining the company is exciting for me especially as it is a new role in Europe. I am keen to establish myself and help others to do the same.

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