… the ministry also warned that once restrictions are lifted – which could be as soon as Monday – organized gangs could try to take advantage of struggling Italians.
To that end, reports of criminal loan-sharking jumped 9.1% according to the report, indicating that those who cannot obtain traditional financing are turning to illegal lending networks to make ends meet.
Earlier this month, prosecutors told Reuters that Italian mafia clans were taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to ingratiate themselves with low income families, while The Guardian reported nearly three weeks ago that videos have surfaced of known Mafia gangs distributing free food to quarantined families who have run out of cash.
“For over a month, shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs have been closed,” said Nicola Gratteri – head of the Catanzaro prosecutor’s office and antimafia investigator according to The Guardian. “Millions of people work in the grey economy, which means that they haven’t received any income in more than a month and have no idea when they might return to work. The government is issuing so-called shopping vouchers to support people. If the state doesn’t step in soon to help these families, the mafia will provide its services, imposing their control over people’s lives.“