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The Rosett Report

And Now, Dozens of Russian Diplomats Charged with Medicaid Fraud

December 6th, 2013 - 1:46 am

Let no one say that Russia’s foreign service lacks for enterprising diplomats. On Friday, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced charges against 49 current or  former Russian diplomats and their spouses for taking part in a scheme to defraud Medicaid. Most of these 49 either are or were posted in New York, with Russia’s Mission to the United Nations. The criminal complaint alleges that from 2004-2013 these folks collected “approximately $1,500,000 in fraudulently received medical benefits.”

The 62-page complaint is crammed with details that have the makings of a sordid situation comedy — Medicaid Fraud on the Hudson. According to FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos, the defendants were “motivated by greed and the purchase of high-end luxury items.” Among the dodges were the reporting of newborn children of Russian diplomats as U.S. citizens (which they were not); a couple representing themselves as brother and sister rather than husband and wife; and under-reporting of income to apply for Medicaid,  while stating much higher income to apply for credit cards. While receiving Medicaid benefits, the diplomats and their spouses shopped at Tiffany’s, Bloomingdale’s, Jimmy Choo and other swank outlets. They went in for luxury vacations, spent tens of thousands on electronic merchandise, and — my favorite — indulged in buying “robotic cleaning devices.”

There’s no great surprise in all this. Back in the days of the USSR, Moscow central planning incubated a culture in which Russians, in order to survive, learned to game the system in every possible way. That culture, once established, is hard to shake (and as state planning swallows more and more of the U.S. economy, more and more enterprising Americans will learn to do the same).  In the case of Russian diplomats at the UN, there is the further heady mix of diplomatic immunity, a growing emporium of American welfare benefits to browse through, and the lure of New York shopping.

Actually, given the time span over which this fraud allegedly occurred, 2004-2013, it would have overlapped in its early years with a corruption case involving Russia’s then highest-ranking diplomat at the UN, Vladimir Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov served as the head of the UN General Assembly’s budget oversight committee. While in that position, he became involved, together with another Russian then working at the UN, Alexander Yakovlev, in crooked deals on UN procurement contracts. When U.S. federal prosecutors twigged to this and brought a case, the UN Secretary-General waived their immunity, Yakovlev turned government witness, and in 2007 Kuznetsov  was convicted in Manhattan federal court of conspiring to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks. The case involved such colorful touches as both Russian officials naming their offshore money-laundering fronts for their children (presumably a sentimental gesture), along with the embarrassment to both the Russian Mission and the UN that the head of the budget oversight committee had been caught bilking the UN — and ultimately bilking U.S. taxpayers, who bankroll the biggest share of UN procurement deals.

Given the latest news of Russian diplomatic enterprise in the U.S., it now appears that while Kuznetsov and Yakovlev were running a kickback scheme within the UN, some of their comrades over at the Russian Mission were allegedly engaging in Medicaid fraud.

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Top Rated Comments   
Time to tear down that eyesore in Turtle Bay on the East River and expel the corruptocrats and deviants out of our country. Let them setup shop in Geneva, without the US paying both the majority of the UN's budget but also the cost to NYC taxpayers. The "diplomats" don't obey traffic or parking laws and I'm sure the Russians aren't the only ones getting Medicaid or welfare benefits from us suckers. They did away with the League of Nations, now the sensible thing to do is shutter the UN. We should create another international organization with capitalistic countries and keep out the dictators and communist nations.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Time to get the US out of the UN, and the UN out of the US. We've got enough home-grown corruption, we don't need the international variety.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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How come the DemocRATS and Left wing moonbats love talking about all the SUBSIDIES people can get for Obamacare but never explain just WHO will be paying for the SUBSIDY. Its the 50% of course who pay Federal Taxes and this is just WEALTH DISTRIBUTION from them to the feckless 47% . The whole of Obamacare is one big PONZI scheme.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Annul Medicare fraud is greater than the total profitability of the ten largest private health care companies. But to the enthusiastic applause of liberal audiences everywhere, one of the primary justifications given for government run health care is to save us from having to pay for all of those evil profits.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Are the people running our country blithering idiots hat drool all over themselves or what?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
And if anyone thinks the Russians are alone in fraud, think again. The easiest, and cheapist favor one of these Russians could have done for some, oh, say Zimbabwaen, colleague would have been to tip them off to the trick. Time to scrub the entire New York area Medicare and other welfare rolls for foreign "guests". Oops, can't do that- all those other poor illegals. Maybe you could just check UN and other diplomatic guests' rolls against the Medicare/ welfare rolls.

Better yet, we could invite the UN to move to Geneva. It would even help the parking in New York.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just imagine how much worse the FRAUD is going to be once MILLIONS more Americans are forced on to Medicaid too. BTW it took the DemocRAT REGIME longer to construct the abject failure that is the Obamacare Website than it took the USA to defeat Germany and Japan in WWII.
Now that is PATHETIC and shows just what the Left is.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
THIS GLASS WALL IS MORE LIKE AN IRON CURTAIN
It's creating East Germany on the East River. How many other UN diplomats are on Medicaid, Medicare, welfare or food stamps?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Time to tear down that eyesore in Turtle Bay on the East River and expel the corruptocrats and deviants out of our country. Let them setup shop in Geneva, without the US paying both the majority of the UN's budget but also the cost to NYC taxpayers. The "diplomats" don't obey traffic or parking laws and I'm sure the Russians aren't the only ones getting Medicaid or welfare benefits from us suckers. They did away with the League of Nations, now the sensible thing to do is shutter the UN. We should create another international organization with capitalistic countries and keep out the dictators and communist nations.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Time to get the US out of the UN, and the UN out of the US. We've got enough home-grown corruption, we don't need the international variety.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some years ago the Russian community in Sacramento CA learned about the free (somebody else paid) food giveaways in the Sac area. Being clever boys and girls they began cleaning out every scrap of food being given away. They showed up at the distribution points as they opened and took everything. Wasn't long before all the home grown leeches and parasites started complaining that when they showed up at 10 or 11AM all the good stuff was gone. Funny, the Russians were leeches but they weren't lazy ones.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Public Housing for Senior Citizen in San Francisco is mostly Russian. They are also adept at using city taxi scripts reserved for medical visits to get around town without having to use the bus system. When you lose God there is no shame in your game.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
A friend of mine is a Russian immigrant, up the street from her business another business puts out a bowl of wrapped candy on the sidewalk this time of year. I asked her if that could happen in Russia. She said no, the entire table, bowl and all the candy would be stolen. A free and open giving society can not survive when, "Thou shall not steal" is not applicable to people's lives.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
What do you expect when you can't get our leeches up early enough to beat the Ruskies to the free goods?

New twist on an old question: How do you starve a LIV? Hide their food stamps under their work boots.

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Back in the days of the USSR, Moscow central planning incubated a culture in which Russians, in order to survive, learned to game the system in every possible way.

To some degree, the same is true in most of the world. Including, increasingly, the USA.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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