Charges asserting a S. Florida man funneled millions of stolen Medicare dollars into Cuba again raises the question: Are Castro brothers behind scams to fleece U.S. taxpayers?
By Frances Robles
Just two days after alleging that a South Florida man ran a “vast cash-to-Cuba operation,” federal prosecutors said they have no proof that the Castro regime is behind a multimillion dollar Medicare money-laundering scam.
But if the crux of a case filed in U.S. District Court is true — that a network of fraudsters funneled tens of millions of Medicare dollars to Havana — experts say there’s no way that much cash could wind up in bank accounts in Cuba without the government there knowing it.
So does check-cashing agent Oscar L. Sanchez’ indictment on a conspiracy to commit money laundering charge offer the first shred of substantiation to the long-held theory that the Castro brothers pull the strings behind elaborate plots to defraud Medicare?
Veteran Cuban analyst Maria Werlau said if the money indeed wound up in Cuba’s national banking system, “it is almost impossible to conceive that anyone not in the pay of Cuban intelligence would pour millions into Cuban banks.
“Who doesn’t know that all Cuban banks are Cuban government banks, i.e. under the total control of the state?” said Werlau, an anti-Castro activist who has studied the regime’s economy and illegal activities extensively.
Prosecutors have accused Sanchez, 46, of being the “financier” for a group that funneled $63 million of fleeced Medicare dollars into banks in Havana. His is the first such case that directly traced money allegedly ripped off from the federal healthcare program for the elderly to Cuba.
Prosecutors said the money linked to Sanchez — $31 million — moved through an intricate web of foreign shell companies before ending up in Cuba via Canada and Trinidad.
Editor’s Note: Please see the related Cuba Confidential story of June 19th: Feds in Miami: Millions Stolen From Medicare Wound Up In Cuban Banking System https://cubaconfidential.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/feds-in-miami-millions-stolen-from-medicare-wound-up-in-cuban-banking-system/