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If the house has settled unevenly, it would stress the plaster and could cause diagonal cracks to run through the face of it.
The house could be jacked back to level by a professional with the right tools and equipment. That won't fix the pl;aster cracks but would probably stop them from betting worse. There are occasionall situations where leveling a house will make things worse for the plaster.
Only a professional on site can determine the best path and plan.
But if these cracks are minor and the house is not otherwise suffering or shopwing other symptoms of settling, I would spackle the cracks and paint right on over.
Who knows, it could have even been a crooked contaactor trying to turn a hundred dollar paint job into a five thousand dollar home repair.