Who can blame them? Maybe they saw how flexible Obama was being and decided that they could do in America what their country was doing internationally.
They were diplomats posted to New York City, and their wives, accused of fraudulently applying for Medicaid benefits over the past nine years. Prosecutors characterized the scheme as an audacious swindle of the federal health benefits program for the needy, orchestrated by officials in the Russian Consulate in New York and its mission to the United Nations.
Of the 63 babies born to Russian diplomats and their spouses in New York City between 2004 and 2013, 58 births — 92 percent — were in families that received Medicaid benefits, the complaint says.
In their defense all the diplomats and their families voted for Obama… twice. So they felt entitled.
For example, the defendants frequently underreported their household income at an amount below the applicable Medicaid eligibility level, the complaint charges. Each diplomat listed in the complaint, said George Venizelos, head of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had “submitted an employer verification form from the Russian government misstating their income in an effort to qualify for benefits.”
Why in the world did anyone think that foreign nationals who were here as diplomats were even entitled to Medicaid?
The complaint cites one couple, Mikhail Kuleshov, a second secretary at the United Nations mission, and his wife, Anna Kuleshova, who had a baby in the United States. They falsely reported in their Medicaid application that no one in the household had any income, yet Mr. Kuleshov last year received about $60,000 from the Russian government, the complaint says.
The couple, who live in the Bronx in housing paid for by the Russian government, received almost $21,000 in Medicaid benefits that they were not entitled to, according to the complaint.
While many of the diplomats and spouses were cheating the Medicaid program, the complaint says, they also were spending tens of thousands of dollars on luxury goods and vacations, including jewelry, watches, clothes and shoes, at Jimmy Choo, Tiffany & Company and Bloomingdale’s.
Just call them Welfare Czars or Welfare Commissars.
“Diplomacy should be about extending hands, not picking pockets in the host country,” said Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, whose office announced on Thursday that it had charged 49 past or present Russian diplomats and their spouses in the $1.5 million Medicaid fraud case.
Clearly Preet isn’t too familiar with Obama’s foreign policy.
“The charges expose shameful and systemic corruption among Russian diplomats in New York,” Mr. Bharara said.
I’m not sure if this is better or worse than the Russian diplomats/KGB agents in New York who ate much of the pigeon population of Washington Heights to save money on food bills.
Mr. Bharara said his office had been advised that the defendants all had diplomatic immunity, so none had been arrested.
He said the State Department could seek a waiver of immunity from the Russian government to allow a prosecution to go forward. If no waiver was given, Mr. Bharara said, the State Department’s policy was to “require departure of that individual from the United States.”
To be replaced by a bunch of others who will do the same thing.
In Washington, a State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said at a briefing that American officials were reviewing the charges but were not yet in a position to speak about what might happen.
As for the case itself, she added: “We don’t think this should affect our bilateral relationship with Russia. Quite frankly, there are too many important issues we have to work on together.”
Obama Soft Power (TM) strikes again. Besides considering how prevalent Medicaid fraud is among Obama voters, this just means he has a new base in Moscow.