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Russian diplomats accused of $1.5M Medicaid fraud

• USA Today
Dozens of current or former Russian diplomats and their spouses enjoyed luxury vacations and spent tens of thousands of dollars on concert tickets, fine clothing and helicopter rides as they lied about their incomes to get the U.S. government to pay their health care bills with money meant for the poor, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

The diplomats were among 49 individuals charged in a complaint unsealed in federal court in Manhattan, though no arrests were made and only 11 of the diplomats and their spouses remained in the United States. The complaint said Medicaid, a health care program for the poor, lost about $1.5 million in the scheme since 2004.

"Diplomacy should be about extending hands, not picking pockets in the host country," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told a Manhattan news conference. He called it "shameful and systemic corruption."

 

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