A man was busted while apparently fleeing to Cuba on a jet ski with food and water to escape insurance fraud charges.
Ernesto Cruz Graveran, 54, of Hialeah, was arrested on a ‘broken down’ jet ski in the Florida Keys, according to the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida on Tuesday.
‘The jet ski was outfitted with a special fuel cell to allow for long trips, and within the compartments of the jet ski, law enforcement discovered a trove of food and water bottles,’ stated the US Attorney’s office.
It was not clear how far Graveran made it in the 90-mile trip to Cuba before US Coast Guard members apprehended him.
‘I believe it is probable that Cruz Graveran was in fact fleeing to Cuba aboard the jet ski to evade prosecution,’ Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Carlos Suarez wrote in the criminal complaint.
Graveran allegedly ran a medical device company, Xiko Enterprises, that filed fake claims for $4.2million in Medicare payments, according to the US Attorney’s office.
The Hialeah-based company sought $1million in claims for equipment that one doctor supposedly wrote for 145 patients. However, investigators discovered that none of that was true.
‘None of those 145 beneficiaries were in fact patients of that physician,’ the US Attorney’s office stated, and ‘that physician never prescribed any of the billed-for DME (durable medical equipment)’.
Graveran took in $2.1million in payments from the federal government in February and April, before feds discovered the scheme and issued an indictment.
US Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes ordered Graveran to be detained without bail at the Federal Detention Center in Miami as he awaits his trial. The judge agreed that Graveran poses a flight risk and confiscated his passport.
Graveran was taken into custody along with another man who previously smuggled illegal aliens into the US.
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