MIAMI (AP) -- Federal agents found $2.5 million in cash hidden in PVC pipes in the bedroom closet of a Miami man charged with bilking the government in a massive $49 million Medicare fraud scam.
The cash was found sealed with plastic wrap inside pipes buried under the closet floor at Jesus Garces' home during a raid Wednesday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Federal authorities have spent the last decade cracking down on the multi-billion Medicare fraud scams cheating taxpayers, but they rarely find cash stockpiles like this. Agents also found another $75,000 in a safe and another $280,000 in a safe at another home linked to Garces, along with seven Rolex watches.
The Miami Herald reported that swarms of agents from Health and Human Services, the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, and Miami-Dade Police descended on Garces' home Wednesday, armed with excavation tools, where they spent hours digging up the loot.
Garces, who was arrested in 2019, has been at a federal detention center in Miami after a judge ruled he was a flight risk who might attempt to return to his home country of Cuba. The 50-year-old is expected to go to trial later this year for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, where prosecutors allege he bilked Medicare and private insurers of millions by charging for medical equipment that patients never received or didn't need.
Federal investigators said he received $100,000 in cash a week over a two-year period from one of the money launderers, according to a 2019 detention order.