Suspected conman caught on fleeing US for Cuba when jet ski ran out of fuel

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Court officials believe that a man accused of submitting more than £3.3million in fraudulent health-care claims was trying to flee to a different country on a jet ski.

Erneston Cruz Graveran is suspected of attempting to make it to Cuba from Florida, reports The Mirror.

But police arrested the 54-year-old in Florida Keys after he was caught with another man, who is known to be a human smuggler, according to Southern District of Florida officials.

Court documents stated that the jet ski was loaded with a "trove" of food and water, which it is believed were intended as provisions for the 90-mile trip, with officials stating: "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."

An agent with the Department of Homeland Security added: "I believe it is probable that Ernesto Cruz Graveran was, in fact, fleeing to Cuba aboard the jet ski to evade prosecution."

Federal prosecutors say Cruz Graveran owned a company called Xiko Enterprises and received £1.7million from his health-care claims between February and April of this year before his scam was uncovered by the police.

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In one instance, Cruz Graveran sought £833,000 in claims for equipment purportedly provided to 145 patients from a single doctor. Investigators, though, found that those recipients never existed and the doctor had not filed any claims on their behalf.

In May, police received intelligence that Cruz Graveran intended to fly to his native Cuba, so approached him at his home.

According to court filings, Cruz Graveran told the officers that he was just the nominee owner for the company and that another person, not named in court papers, had paid him to use his name and for him to process the cheques.

Some of the cheques were for as much as £75,000 and he would often take them to a local bank, according to the government’s affidavit.

Cruz Graveran agreed to cooperate and handed over his passport but, three weeks later, he reportedly tried to flee the country. He is being held without bail awaiting trial.

  • Courts
  • Police

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