When it finally came time to publicly speak about how he's able to own a $1.2 million dollar Lake Washington home, drive a black Jaguar XJR4D, and regularly fly off to Europe and the Middle East while collecting more than $100,000 in government welfare checks, Seattle's mystery chiropractor David Silverstein, in a pea coat, beanie and sunglasses, looked into the camera and, as the reporter waited breathlessly, said: "You have to speak to my attorney." Awww.
The attorney didn't return calls. But this much we know: Silverstein and the woman thought to be his wife, Lyudmila Shimonova, are being sued by the feds for filing false welfare claims. Federal prosecutors say the couple owes more than $135,000 in illegally obtained federal housing assistance dating to 2003, along with tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Shimonova claimed in her Section 8 housing subsidy application that she lived alone with her two children at the three-bedroom, 2,300-square-foot Jacuzzi-equipped lakefront home near Rainier Beach and had household assets of less than $5,000.
The Seattle Housing Authority inspected the residence eight times to make certain Shimonova was complying with welfare rules but apparently saw no fraud in such a setup - although one report shows an inspector noted the waterfront digs seemed "way! above average" for someone in need of a public handout.
As her purported landlord, Silverstein received monthly benefits of $1,272 by listing his office address as his home address, prosecutors say. (But, cough, the home is listed as his residence on his driver's license and passport application).
Prosecutors don't doubt the two are married. As Silverstein wrote on his Seward Park Chiropractic website (now offline): "On a personal note, I am happily married with two children, whose careers are in medicine and Middle Eastern studies. As a family, we all enjoy snow-shoeing, mountain climbing and ocean sports." He adds that he had offices in Manhattan and New Jersey before moving to Seattle.
KING reports that Silverstein is also now being investigated by the state Department of Health for "unprofessional conduct." Punishment could range from a reprimand to the loss of his license.