The feds on Thursday announced they’ve charged dozens of Russian diplomats and their spouses with defrauding the Medicaid system out of $1.5 million.
Authorities say the fraud aimed at stealing from the government health program to assist the poor was carried out during the past nine years – even while the diplomats and their spouses enjoyed lavish lifestyles that included vacations, expensive clothing and other top-line accessories.
The complaint, unsealed Thursday, names 49 current or former Russian diplomats and spouses who were employed at either the Russian Mission to the United Nations, the Russian Federation Consulate General in New York, or the Big Apple office for the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in the USA.
The complaint alleges they routinely submitted fake applications for medical benefits for pregnancies, births and care for young children. Federal prosecutors also say the diplomats under-reported their income on applications in order to qualify for the benefits.
The $1.5 million in false benefits was not only awarded to the defendants but also to dozens of co-conspirators not named in the complaint, the feds said.
Messages left with Russian officials at the UN were not immediately returned.
The US Attorney’s office in Manhattan was holding a noon press conference to provide additional details of the alleged fraud.