Dozens of Russian diplomats and their spouses living and working in New York have been charged with defrauding the Medicaid system of about $1.5 million in benefits over a nine-year period, federal prosecutors say.
A federal criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan says the alleged scheme by 49 diplomats and their spouses included submitting false applications for Medicaid benefits associated with medical costs for pregnancy, birth and young children, benefits they were not entitled to receive.
The 18-month investigation by the FBI revealed a pattern of fraudulent Medicaid application submissions by the defendants, including under-reporting household income and false statements about the citizenship status of children in order to continue dependents’ health care coverage, prosecutors say.
Court papers say 92 percent of the births to Russian diplomats and their spouses between 2004 and 2013 in New York City were paid for by Medicaid benefits.
While collecting Medicaid benefits, prosecutors say the Russian diplomats and their spouses spent tens of thousands of dollars on luxury vacations as well as jewelry and clothing at Bloomingdale’s, Tiffany’s and other retailers. They also spent thousands of dollars online to buy merchandise including Apple products and concert tickets.
Eleven employees of Russian diplomatic mission on East 67th Street are among those criminally charged and have diplomatic immunity. The FBI said no arrests were made Thursday. . .