Russian Foster Mother Jailed for Starving and Drugging Boy to Collect Sickness Benefits

March 17, 2019 Updated: March 17, 2019

A Russian woman has been jailed for six years for starving and drugging a young boy so she could claim benefits that she spent on luxuries.

A court sentenced Lyubov Korotkova to time behind bars, The Daily Mail reported, and ordered the foster mother to repay over $65,000 in fraudulently claimed child sickness and disability benefits. She was also ordered to compensate the victim to the tune of $10,500 for “moral damages.”

Korotkova was earlier convicted of “intentional infliction of a grave injury to a minor (leaving him) in a helpless state,” according to The Sun, and of “special cruelty, humiliation and torture.” Prosecutors argued she had starved and drugged an orphan in her care for eight years while collecting tens of thousands of dollars in state benefits.

Korotkova pleaded not guilty.

Horrific Abuse

Korotkova’s abuse of the boy started when the child was 3 years old and continued until he was 11, causing him to live in a state that verged on death.

“The malnutrition was so severe that the 11-year-old boy had the weight of a four-year-old child,” said Svetlana Petrenko, of the Russian Federal Investigative Committee, as cited by The Sun.

She starved him and “made him take medical drugs to build up a clinical manifestation of a stomach disease,” said a law enforcement source cited by The Metro.

Korotkova also homeschooled the child in order not to raise the suspicions of school authorities in the city of Magadan.

She allegedly also kept the truth from her husband and was even hailed as a local hero for caring for such a gravely ill child.

“For eight years she deliberately was not feeding her fostered child in order to register him as disabled and receive benefits and sickness payments,” said Petrenko, as per The Daily Mail.

Investigators accused her of deliberately hatching the plan to fool doctors into thinking the boy had a serious disease.

“During all these years the woman was seeing many different doctors with her child, asking them to check him for multiple diseases, including cancer.

“As a result, the doctors—who were cheated—could not pinpoint the right diagnosis.”

“Having cheated the doctors, she managed to register her child as handicapped—and started receiving financial assistance, compensation and other allowances.”

The Mail reported Korotkova had “frittered” the cash on “luxuries.”

Her scheme unraveled when a senior doctor who examined the child concluded he was completely healthy—apart from the damage deliberately inflicted by the foster mother.

Korotkova’s ruse had been so convincing, however, that some local officials stood behind her and challenged federal investigators.

City mayor Yury Grishan even demanded the child be returned to her, according to The Metro.

Campaigners also took up her cause, The Mail reported, and tried to block efforts to remove the boy from her custody.

Federal children’s ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova reportedly intervened in the case to prevent the boy from ending up back in the foster mother’s custody.

The court eventually concluded that Korotkova was guilty of mistreating the child in cruel ways tantamount to torture.

The child was taken into custody by Russian child welfare authorities and taken to Moscow for specialized treatment.

The boy is said to be under the permanent care of psychologist Svetlana Suleimanova, who treated the boy after he was freed from his miserable life with Korotkova.

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