AUDIO: Preet Bharara, US District Attorney for Southern District of NY, IN DALET 5.1 HOUSE SHARED THURSDAY RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS FRAUD
U.S. prosecutors are charging 49 current and former Russian diplomats and family members with fraud in a scheme to get health benefits intended for the poor.
The Justice Department says the diplomats from Russia's U.N. mission lied about their incomes to get $1.5 million in Medicaid benefits, covering pregnancies, births, and infant care.
Each defendant has been charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and stealing government funds. None of the suspects has been arrested and only 11 still live in the United States.
U.S. officials say the suspects were motivated by greed and a desire to buy expensive goods. They say diplomacy should be about extending hands -- not picking the pockets of the host country.