Tags: forest | boy | owes | 40k

'Forest Boy' Who Claimed a Wild Raising Owes $40K for Benefits

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Friday, 27 Sep 2013 12:31 PM

By Clyde Hughes

A 21-year-old Dutch man dubbed 'Forest Boy' after he falsely claimed in Germany last year that his father raised him in the woods, will have to perform 150 hours of community service for about $40,000 in services he received in the fraud.

Robin van Helsum faced prosecution from local authorities after his lies were uncovered, reported the London Telegraph.

Berlin's juvenile district court said during a hearing Thursday, though, that if van Helsum performed 150 hours of community service and sought therapy that it would drop other charges against him, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

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"The abatement of action was agreed with the consent of public prosecutors," the court said in a statement, according to the Australian network. "It however does not rule out any claims for restitution by juvenile services against the accused."

Van Helsum created a media frenzy in late 2011 when he popped up at a Berlin police station, telling law enforcement that he lost his memory and only could speak English, according to the Telegraph. At the time, van Helsum told authorities he came to Berlin, because his father recently died after raising him in the forest.

His story though, quickly came apart when his photograph was published in various media outlets and it was recognized by people who knew him. By then, van Helsum had received significant help from the state's social service agencies.

NBC News reported that a woman in The Netherlands contacted Dutch police, saying she recognized van Helsum as her step-son who had been missing since September 2011 and he was actually 20, not 17 as he told police. He eventually fessed up to making up the entire story.

"It turns out that the young man presented a Pinocchio story," Berlin police spokesman Michael Maass told NBC News last year. "We now know that the young man turned 20 in April and was reported missing in the Netherlands by his family last September."

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Thursday's hearing went on for about an hour and van Helsum left the court with his attorney and his face wrapped in a newspaper, according to The Telegraph.

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