Prosecutors: Suspect Tried to Jet Ski Out of the Country

It didn't work out for Ernesto Cruz Graveran, now held in Florida
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2022 1:14 PM CDT
Fraud Suspect Allegedly Tried to Flee to Cuba on Jet Ski
The alleged plan did not pan out.   (Getty Images/wmaster890)

Stripped of his passport, a man tried to flee fraud charges in the US by riding a jet ski from Florida to Cuba, prosecutors say. Ernesto Cruz Graveran, 54, a Cuban national living in Florida and charged in a $4.2 million Medicare fraud scheme, is being held as a flight risk after Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection agents found him on a broken-down jet ski south of Key West on June 8. Less than three weeks earlier, investigators secured an interview with Cruz Graveran. Having discovered his plan to fly to Havana on May 22, they secured a promise that he would cooperate in the criminal investigation and confiscated his passport, per the Washington Post.

Cruz Graveran apparently didn't think he needed a plane. He'd been heading in the direction of Cuba, 90 miles south of the Florida Keys, when he was found on a jet ski "outfitted with a special fuel cell to allow for long trips" as well as plenty of food and water, according to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida. Also on the jet ski was a person authorities described as a known migrant smuggler, per the AP. Prosecutors say Cruz Graveran's company, Xiko Enterprises Inc., fraudulently received $2.1 million from Medicare after submitting $4.2 million in health care claims for medical equipment that was never provided. His trial is to kick off Monday in Miami. (Read more fraud stories.)

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