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article imageGerman officials want 'Forest Boy' to pay expenses

By Leigh Goessl     Jun 20, 2012 in World
Berlin - The mystery of "Forest Boy's" identity is solved, but there are other issues still not resolved. One issue is the expenses Germany said it spent on Robin van Helsum's support during the nine months he spent in Berlin.
Van Helsum's hoax was exposed last week after officials broadcast his picture online. Quickly identified by friends, officials confronted the man and learned the teenaged orphan was actually a 20-year-old man who abandoned his former life in the Netherlands to pursue a new life.
"Forest Boy" is now being referred to as the “Holland Pinocchio” in German Media, The Local reported.
After learning his true identity, authorities had been initially been considering charging van Helsum for fraud, and it looks as if this may be the next issue in van Helsum's life.
According to Dutch News, German authorities want van Helsum to pay back the €20,000 - €30,000 (approximately $25,000 - $38,000) it cost the government to provide for him; the youth home he was staying at paid for his lodging, food, education, clothing and a monthly allowance of spending money. Earlier reports noted he was also given a cell phone.
"It is very frustrating that someone has wrongly profited from our youth social work provisions for nine months," Dutch News reported one official said. "He has not even apologised or said thank you."
UPI reported Berlin's youth welfare office plans to sue van Helsum.
"We will file a suit for fraudulent appropriation of youth benefits during the course of the week," Ed Koch, spokesman for the district youth welfare office, told Berlin's B.Z. newspaper. "We're going to demand this money back. Whether we ever see it again, we don't know." (courtesy of The Local)
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