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Suspect in Medicare fraud scam arrested after trying to flee to Cuba on Jet Ski, feds say

Ernesto Cruz Graveran, 54, stopped on disabled Jet Ski stocked with food, bottles of water
Jet Ski over Key West and Cuba, Ernesto Cruz Graveran arrest
Posted at 4:21 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 16:21:54-04

MIAMI — A South Florida man accused of submitting more than $4 million worth of fraudulent health care claims to Medicare was apprehended on a disabled Jet Ski headed toward Cuba, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Ernesto Cruz Graveran, 54, of Hialeah, was arrested last week after the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found him on an inoperable Jet Ski in the water south of Key West, headed in the direction of Cuba, about 90 miles away, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida.

According to a criminal complaint, Cruz Graveran owned Xiko Enterprises Inc., a Florida corporation which purported to provide durable medical equipment to eligible Medicare beneficiaries.

The complaint alleges that Xiko – from February through April – submitted about $4.2 million in fraudulent health care claims to Medicare for durable medical equipment that Xiko never provided and that Medicare beneficiaries never requested.

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Prosecutors claim Medicare paid out more than $2.1 million to Xiko.

According to the complaint, Cruz Graveran was on the Jet Ski with another individual, "known to law enforcement to be an alien smuggler." The Jet Ski was "outfitted with a special fuel cell to allow for long trips" and had food and bottles of water stashed in its compartments.

"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.

A federal magistrate judge in Miami ruled Monday that Cruz Graveran should be held without bond pending trial.