Yesterday, a federal judge in Miami ordered that a Hialeah resident who allegedly submitted more than $4 million in fraudulent health care claims to Medicare be detained pending trial, after the defendant was arrested on board a jet ski headed south from Key West toward Cuba.
According to allegations in the criminal complaint, from February through April, 54-year-old Ernesto Cruz Graveran owned Xiko Enterprises, Inc., a Florida corporation which purported to provide durable medical equipment (“DME”) to eligible Medicare beneficiaries. The complaint alleges that Xiko, in only a two-month period in 2022, submitted approximately $4.2 million in fraudulent health care claims to Medicare for DME that Xiko never provided, and that Medicare beneficiaries never requested. As a result, Medicare paid Xiko over $2.1 million. For example, according to the claims that Xiko submitted to Medicare, one physician purportedly prescribed DME from Xiko for approximately 145 Medicare beneficiaries, and Xiko billed Medicare over $1 million for DME referred by this one physician. But, according to the complaint, none of those 145 beneficiaries were in fact patients of that physician, and that physician never prescribed any of the billed-for DME.
The government alleged in court that the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers located Graveran aboard a broken-down jet ski in the waters south of Key West, headed in the direction of Cuba, roughly 90 miles away. Graveran was aboard the jet ski along with one other individual, who was 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 within the compartments of the jet ski, law enforcement discovered a trove of food and water bottles.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes agreed with the government that Graveran should not be released on bond, and the Court ordered that Graveran remained detained at the Federal Detention Center in Miami until his trial.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Omar Perez Aybar, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Miami Region; and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office, announced the charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael B. Homer is prosecuting this case.
A complaint is a charging instrument containing allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.