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All Press Releases for January 22, 2014 »
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Russian diplomats charged with healthcare fraud

In recent years, as the costs associated with healthcare have gone up, law enforcement agencies have stepped up efforts to prevent instances of health care fraud.
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    January 22, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- In recent years, as the costs associated with healthcare have gone up, law enforcement agencies have stepped up efforts to prevent instances of health care fraud. By some estimates, instances of fraud, including Medicaid fraud, cost state and federal governments millions of dollars each year. Although many people may not be familiar with the issue, it has become increasingly common, as have investigations and arrests. Surprisingly, some of these investigations involve individuals from other countries.

Recently, federal prosecutors announced that they had charged multiple former Russian diplomats and their family members for Medicaid fraud after an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to federal prosecutors, a total of 49 people are facing charges for participating in a plot to defraud the government by lying about their income.

The diplomats and their families involved in the scheme allegedly collected approximately $1.5 million in Medicaid benefits. These benefits are intended for low income families who have no other options available to receive critical medical care. According to court documents, the money collected by the diplomats and their families was used to pay for charges related to pregnancies.

Of course, those who were arrested were far from needy. Federal prosecutors said that they typically spent tens of thousands of dollars on vacations and luxury items.

Each of the 49 people arrested faces one count of conspiracy for their part in the fraud scheme, as well as one count of conspiracy to illegally take government funds.

Details are still emerging about the case and it is unclear whether the charges will lead to arrests. Before any arrests take place, the U.S. State Department must ask the Russian government to waive diplomatic immunity for those charged. If the Russian government refuses to waive immunity, then government officials can ask the diplomats and their families to leave the U.S. A further problem is that some of those charged have returned to Russia and are unlikely to return to the U.S. So far, Russia does not appear likely to grant any request for a waiver of immunity.

The reality is that diplomats are not the only people that federal authorities investigate for healthcare fraud. It is not unusual for federal authorities to examine the practices of doctors, imaging centers and even dentists for evidence of fraud. If you are currently under investigation for healthcare fraud, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense lawyer can help you defend your rights.

Article provided by The Law Offices of Mark J. Werksman
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