Russian Diplomats Scam Medicaid to the Tune of $1.5 million

From ABC News:

Four dozen Russian diplomats and their spouses have fraudulently been using Medicaid to cover the costs of pregnancy and child birth over the last decade, costing American taxpayers $1.5 million, the FBI said today in a criminal complaint.

The complaint unsealed today claims that from 2004 to 2013 there were 63 births to Russian diplomats stationed in New York, and 58 of them were paid for by Medicaid.

“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 at a news conference today.

Medicaid is designed to help low-income individuals and families afford health care. Recipients must generally be U.S. citizens or qualified immigrants, the complaint explains. Diplomats, including their spouses and children, are not considered to be qualified immigrants.

However, proof of U.S. citizenship is not required for pregnant women completing an “Access NY Healthcare” application, according to the documents, because the unborn child is presumed to acquire citizenship when they are born in the country. (emphasis mine)

The complaint states that before, during and after receiving Medicaid benefits those same diplomats “spent tens of thousands of dollars” on luxury goods at Swarovski, Tiffany & Co., Bloomingdale’s and Jimmy Choo.

“The amount of money spent on these luxury items was inconsistent with the grossly underreported incomes,” Venizelos said.

“The pattern of spending by the Russian diplomats and their spouses, including the defendants, is generally inconsistent with the grossly underreported incomes claimed on the Medicaid applications,” the complaint states.

The goods included luxury watches, clothes, shoes, jewelry, electronics, concert tickets and robotic cleaning devices, the complaint said.

“All sorts of lavish spending was going on,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at the news conference.

The complaint asks that 49 accused Russian diplomats and spouses be arrested, but because of diplomatic immunity for embassy officials none have been arrested.

This story inspires a few questions; specifically:

(1) Does anyone really think that the Republicans who wrote the 14th amendment to protect the rights of freed slaves had this sort of thing in mind?

(2) Doesn’t this story remind us AGAIN of the ridiculous inefficiency of government spending other people’s money?

(3) Isn’t it time to get rid of “birth right” citizenship once and for all? We’ve got this story, and a few months ago on The Teri O’Brien Show we told you about the California motel favored by Chinese nationals, looking to give birth to American citizens.

(4) Isn’t this story bad news for the democrats, including Gov. Chris Christie, cheerleading for Obamacare’s reckless and destructive Medicaid expansion?


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