WABC, December 2, 2020
Six people have been charged and more are being sought in a so-called “birth tourism” and money laundering scheme on Long Island that authorities say led to 119 children being born in the U.S.
Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme announced the details of the indictment Wednesday, saying the tourists are from Turkey and that 117 mothers traveled to Suffolk County to have their children before returning home.
Officials said the defendants — four Turkish nationals and two U.S. citizens — used seven birth houses, including ones in Center Moriches, Dix Hills, Smithtown, West Babylon, and East Northport, with more than $2.1 million in Medicaid funds fraudulently taken.
Bebegim Amerikada Dogsun, translated to “My baby should be born in America,” is alleged to have offered round-the-clock accommodation service, comfort of a home, transportation and hospital expenses, and medical and institutional support throughout the birth process, using Facebook to advertise.
Authorities said the scheme has been going on for three years, dating back to January of 2017, and fees ranged up to $7,500 to $10,000 per traveler.
Officials said Wednesday it “would be unlikely” that citizenship of the children would be suspended.