RIO DE JANEIRO, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's federal police launched a large operation on Tuesday to dismantle a ring that had defrauded the country's social security system out of at least 14 million reais (4.3 million U.S. dollars), although the amount could be up to 10 times higher.
Named "Ostrich," the operation came as part of an investigation which identified fraud based around social benefits for pensioners or severely ill people.
Police officers carried out six arrest warrants and detained three others for interrogation in Sao Paulo.
The investigation is also targeting a law firm accused of carrying out at least 150 social security petitions containing false information.
According to the police report, this law firm enjoyed a legal injunction allowing it to make unlimited social security petitions, when the law stipulated only one a day may be made per person or company to avoid fraud.
The arrest will be charged with fraud against the country and organized crime, which could be punished with sentences of one to five years in prison.