Dozens of Russian diplomats have been ripping off Medicare for years

Almost 50 diplomats and family members took part in the scam. Incomes, citizenship and relationships were falsely stated to obtain Medicare benefits. Diplomats and wives dropped tens of thousands in high-end Manhattan stores while receiving benefits.

United States Attorney Preet Bharara (L) speaks next to FBI’s Assistant Director in Charge for New York George Venizelos at an unrelated press conference earlier this year

Almost 50 Russian diplomats and members of their families have been charged in a massive health care fraud scheme, officials announced Thursday.

Federal officials allege that 58 of the 63 births to Russian officials living in New York between 2004 and 2013 were fraudulently paid for by Medicare at a cost of roughly $1.5million to US taxpayers.

The Russians were applying for these benefits while emptying their pockets at famed stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Jimmy Choo’s, Prada and Tiffany & Co, officials said.

The fraudsters carried out the plan by applying for a range of benefits, including Medicare, by falsifying information on applications including income levels and citizenship status of children, officials said.

‘Being a diplomat does not give you the right to commit health care fraud,’ FBI special agent in charge of the New York field office George Venizelos said during a Thursday news conference detailing the allegations.

The diplomats and their spouses were able to exploit a loop hole allowing them to apply for benefits without proving US citizenship because the child is presumed to acquire US citizenship at birth.

Diplomats, their spouses and their children are not generally entitled to Medicare benefits except in cases of emergency, officials noted.


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