U.S. Accuses 6 of Committing ‘Birth Tourism’ Fraud, Money Laundering

Updated 7:52 p.m. Six people were accused Wednesday of committing fraud in a scheme that brought 117 pregnant Turkish women to Long Island to give birth so that their children would be born American citizens.

Two of the seven homes where the births occurred are in East Northport and the other in Dix Hills at 654 Old Country Road, federal prosecutors said.

 Prosecutors said the offenses occurred in Suffolk County between 2017 and 2020. The women came into the U.S. on tourist or business visas. 

The defendants were accused of advertising the scheme on two Turkish-language Facebook pages and a Turkish-language website. The sites were translated into English as  “My baby should be born in America,” and  “Giving Birth in America.” The pages have since been shut down.

As translated, some of the defendants’ advertisements stated, “If you believe your baby should be born in the USA and become a U.S. citizen then you are at the right place. . . . [W]e  . . . will provide
future mothers and fathers this opportunity, with minimal costs . . . .”

The advertisements further stated that fees paid by pregnant women – approximately $7,500 nearly all in cash – would include transportation, “insurance” to cover the costs of pre-natal, delivery and post-natal
medical care, assistance with the process for applying for United States citizenship on behalf of children born in connection with the scheme and consultation in Turkish concerning health care issues. The defendants also allegedly instructed the women to conceal their pregnancies, prosecutors said.

The indictments were announced by Seth D. DuCharme, acting United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Timothy D. Sini, Suffolk County district attorney, Peter C. Fitzhugh, special agent in-charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Geraldine Hart, Suffolk County police commissioner.

DuCharme said the defendants filed Medicaid applications claiming the women were permanent New York State residents, who had no income, and who supposedly resided in one of seven “Birth Houses” that the defendants maintained. During that time, the defendants facilitated the births of approximately 119 Turkish children, who now hold birthright United States citizenship and the accompanying rights and privileges of United States citizens. On one of their webpages, however, the defendants claimed to have facilitated more than 800 births while perpetrating their scheme.

The scheme came to light when a Town of Smithtown employee noticed multiple births at around the same being registered the same address.

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