US publishes list of Russians suspected of insurance fraud
MOSCOW, December 6 (RAPSI) - US prosecutors announced Thursday that 49 former and current Russian diplomats and their wives have been charged in connection with a widespread health care fraud scheme.
According to the statement issued by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York: "The complaint alleges that each of the defendants and their unnamed co-conspirators participated in a widespread scheme to illegally obtain Medicaid benefits for prenatal care and related costs by, among other things, falsely underreporting their income or falsely claiming that their child was a citizen of the United States."
The statement adds that the defendants are alleged to have illegally obtained nearly half a million dollars' worth of Medicaid benefits.
According to the statement, each of the defendants either presently is or formerly was a Russian diplomat or spouse of a diplomat employed by the Russian Mission to the United Nations (UN), the Russian Consulate General in New York, or the New York office of the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in the US.
Southern District Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference on Thursday that the Russian diplomats cannot be prosecuted without Russia’s permission. However, US officials can request withdrawal of their diplomatic immunity in order for the Prosecutor’s Office to proceed with the case.
The Russian Embassy in the US questions the validity of the charges against the Russian diplomats. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Washington should have pursued its complaints through diplomatic channels, and not made the issue public.
‘‘We have many complaints about US diplomats in Moscow, but we are not making them public,’’ Ryabkov said.