Suspected scammer caught fleeing US for Cuba as jet ski ran out of fuel
Court officials believe a man accused of submitting more than £3.3million in fraudulent healthcare claims was trying to flee to another country on a jet ski.
Erneston Cruz Graveran is suspected of having attempted to travel to Cuba from Florida, reports The Mirror.
But police arrested the 54-year-old man in the Florida Keys after he was caught with another man, known to be a smuggler, according to officials in the Southern District of Florida.
Court documents said the jet ski was loaded with a ‘treasury’ of food and water, which are believed to have been intended as supplies for the 90-mile journey, with officials saying: ‘The jet ski was fitted with a special fuel cell to enable long journeys, and in the compartments of the jet ski, law enforcement discovered a treasure trove of food and water bottles.”
A Department of Homeland Security agent added, “I think it’s likely that Ernesto Cruz Graveran was actually fleeing to Cuba on the jet ski to escape prosecution.”
Federal prosecutors say Cruz Graveran owned a company called Xiko Enterprises and received £1.7million of his healthcare claims between February and April this year before his scam was uncovered by police.
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In one case, Cruz Graveran sought £833,000 in claims for equipment allegedly supplied to 145 patients by a single doctor. Investigators found, however, that these recipients never existed and that the doctor had not filed any claims on their behalf.
In May, police received information that Cruz Graveran intended to fly to his native Cuba, so he approached him at his home.
According to court documents, Cruz Graveran told officers that he was only the named owner of the business and that another person, not named in court documents, had paid him to use his name. and that it processes checks.
Some of the checks were for £75,000 and he often took them to a local bank, according to the government affidavit.
Cruz Graveran agreed to cooperate and handed over his passport, but three weeks later he reportedly attempted to flee the country. He is being held without bail pending trial.