Florida Man Accused Of Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Caught Escaping To Cuba On Jet Ski
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A bloke under investigation for a $4.2 million Medicare fraud scheme attempted to flee the US on a jet ski, authorities have said.
Ernesto Cruz Graveran, originally from Cuba but who now lives in Florida, was apprehended by U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers after the jet ski he was on broke down outside of Florida Keys last week.
The jet ski had been ‘outfitted with a special fuel cell to allow for long trips’ and had food and bottled stashed away in its compartments.
Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Carlos Suarez wrote in the criminal complaint: "I believe it is probable that Cruz Graveran was in fact fleeing to Cuba aboard the Jet Ski to evade prosecution.”
Cruz Graveran, 54, appeared before Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes who agreed with prosecutors that he should not be released on bail as he is a flight risk.
He’s now being detained at the Federal Detention Center in Miami until his trial.
According to a criminal complaint, during a two-month period, Cruz Graveran’s company Xiko Enterprises submitted around $4.2 million in fraudulent healthcare claims to Medicare for equipment that was never requested by or given to beneficiaries.
The complaint claims Xiko was paid more than $2.1 million by Medicare.
Cruz Gaveran is also accused of requesting $1 million in claims referred by one doctor for 145 beneficiaries, but it transpired that none of the 145 were patients of the doctor and the doctor had never prescribed any of the equipment.
Cruz Graveran told investigators that he was the ‘nominee owner’ of Xiko and claimed that an associate had paid him in order to use his name on business records and the company’s bank account.
He admitted to signing cheques at the request of the same association and said he had also chased the same cheques - which ranged in value from $60,000 to $90,000 - and says he gave this money to the associate.
Cruz Graveran had been cooperating with the investigation and turned over his passport to the authorities.
However, authorities say last Wednesday he was found on the broken jet ski in waters south of Florida Keys headed in the direction of Cuba.
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