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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Immigrants Implicated in Record U.S. Fraud

APLynch speaking about the Medicare scam in Brooklyn on Friday near a poster warning, “Loose lips sink ships!”

U.S. authorities have busted the largest fraud in the history of Medicare, the U.S. insurance program for the elderly, including a New York clinic that used elderly Russian immigrants to scam the government of $72 million.

In all, 94 people — including several doctors and nurses — were charged Friday in scams totaling $251 million after raids in New York, Miami, Detroit, Houston and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Suspects across America were accused of billing Medicare for unnecessary equipment, physical therapy and other treatments that patients never received.

In the $72 million scam at Bay Medical in Brooklyn, clinic owners submitted bogus physical therapy claims for elderly Russian immigrants.

Patients, including undercover agents, were paid $50 to $100 a visit in exchange for using their Medicare numbers and got bonuses for recruiting new patients. Wiretaps captured hundreds of kickback payments doled out in a backroom by a man who did nothing but pay patients all day, authorities said.

The so-called "kickback" room had a Soviet-era propaganda poster on the wall, showing a woman with a finger to her lips and two warnings in Russian: "Loose lips sink ships" and "Be on the lookout: In these days, the walls talk."

With the surveillance, the walls "had ears and they had eyes," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said at a news conference in Brooklyn.

In a separate Brooklyn case, authorities charged six patients who shopped their Medicare numbers to various clinics. More than 3,744 claims were submitted on behalf of one woman alone, 82-year-old Valentina Mushinskaya, over the past six years.

At a brief appearance in federal court Friday, Mushinskaya was released on $30,000 bond and ordered not to return to the Solstice Wellness Center, the scene of a suspected $2.8 million scam.

Authorities called Mushinskaya one of the clinic's "serial beneficiaries," with phony bills totaling $141,161 paid by Medicare.

Her nephew, Vladimir Olshansky, told reporters that his Ukrainian-born aunt suffers from diabetes.

"She doesn't know what this is about," he said. "She's in the dark."