Miami Man and Fugitive Cuban Brother in $238 Million Money Laundering Racket By Tod Aronovitz | 12/30/14 | 0 Comment

A Miami businessman, who was singled out as the ‘bagman’ in a massive money laundering operation which involved $238 million in stolen Medicare proceeds, pleaded guilty last month to conspiring in the scheme with his now-fugitive Cuban half brother.  The case is the first-known Medicare fraud money laundering racket between the United States and Cuba.

According to a story we wrote about on our ARONOVITZ LAW Blog on May 29, Eduardo Perez de Morales helped his older brother launder the illegal Medicare funds through the brother’s now defunct offshore remittance company, Caribbean Transfers, from 2005 to 2011. The company has been accused of supplying clean cash to healthcare scammers in Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and New York.

An article in the Miami Herald reported that Perez has now agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s office.  As a result of the deal, he is only being held responsible for laundering between $1 million and $2.5 million, which will make his prison sentence much lighter.  Rather than looking at 20 years in prison for the single money-laundering conspiracy plea, he instead faces a maximum of six years, the article said.

Ringleader fugitive brother Jorge Perez owns a home in Havana, but the FBI believes he could also be in Mexico, the Dominican Republic or Spain.  His role as mastermind was exposed after Oscar L. Sanchez, a convicted Naples check-cashing store owner, named Jorge as the person financing the operation.  The prosecutor said the store and other remittance agencies cashed checks or wired money for Medicare-fraud offenders, and then transferred their dirty dollars through Jorge Perez’s shell companies in Canada via Trinidad to Cuba.

Investigators initially projected that Sanchez shifted more than $30 million on behalf of 70 corrupt Medicare-licensed businesses. However, that estimate was blown out of the water when they discovered even more check-cashing and remittance businesses financed by Caribbean Transfers as part of the alleged money-laundering scheme.  The estimated total then multiplied almost eightfold to $238 million, and the location of all that money is currently unknown.

Earlier this year, it was suggested by Eduardo Perez’s former defense attorney that he was being indicted for the sole purpose of luring older brother Jorge back to the United States.

But as part of Eduardo’s plea deal, he has agreed to testify before a grand jury or at trial if the prosecutor asks.  This indicates that he could be a key witness against Jorge, providing that Jorge is ever found and brought back to Miami. However, Eduardo’s current defense attorney noted that even though that scenario is a possibility, the deal does not specifically require him to testify against Jorge.

Eduardo’s sentencing is scheduled for January.

How to Report Miami Medicare Fraud

Healthcare professionals or medical billing employees who have knowledge of questionable Medicare billing practices can file a confidential legal claim under the False Claims Act. By acting as a “whistleblower” in what is known as a “qui tam” lawsuit, a private party may collect up to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam Law Firm

The Miami Qui Tam law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely works with whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss your case.