Remittances Used to Launder Medicare Fraud Money to Cuba -- And It's Going to Get Worse

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
The Obama Administration's recent policy changes now allow remittances to be sent through a general license, including to non-family members (even to complete strangers).

In other words, there will be no specific scrutiny or accountability.

Thus, it dramatically increases the avenues for the Castro regime and its criminal cohorts to bilk American taxpayers -- and use Cuba's murky banking sector to hide it.

From The Miami Herald:

Miami brother of accused Cuban money-launderer gets 3 1/2 years in prison

The younger brother of a fugitive money man accused of laundering $238 million in dirty Medicare dollars from Florida into Cuba’s banking system was sentenced Wednesday to 3 1/2 years in prison.

Eduardo Perez de Morales, 27, of Miami, got a slight break from U.S. District Judge William Zloch because he was barely an adult when his brother recruited him into the alleged international laundering scheme nearly a decade ago.

Perez helped his 50-year-old brother, Jorge Emilio Perez de Morales, wash the Medicare millions by using a Caribbean-based remittance company to pay off Medicare fraud offenders in the United States in exchange for transferring their tainted healthcare profits to Cuba, according to an indictment.

The “massive money laundering operation,” as described by a federal prosecutor, was unprecedented because it marked the first U.S. case connecting South Florida's Medicare rackets to Cuba’s national bank.

Jorge Perez, a half-brother, is accused of directing the money-laundering operation through his Cuba-licensed remittance company, Caribbean Transfers, from 2005 to 2011. He owns a seaside home in Havana but could be in Mexico, the Dominican Republic or Spain, according to the FBI. Davidson called Jorge Perez’s remittance company, which closed after his indictment in 2012, an offshore Western Union.

Caribbean Transfers provided clean cash — amassed from Cuban exiles sending money to relatives on the island — to corrupt healthcare operators in Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and New York, according to the indictment.

Jorge Perez’s role was uncovered after a convicted Naples check-cashing store owner, Oscar L. Sanchez, fingered him as the man who bankrolled his Florida business and other remittance agencies. The prosecutor said those stateside businesses cashed checks or wired money for Medicare-fraud offenders — then transferred their dirty dollars through Jorge Perez’s shell companies in Canada via Trinidad to Cuba.

At first, investigators estimated that Sanchez laundered more than $30 million on behalf of 70 corrupt Medicare-licensed businesses through December 2006. But the estimated total grew almost eightfold, as they discovered that Caribbean Transfers later financed other check-cashing and remittance businesses involved in the alleged money-laundering scheme.

The Medicare money could have been disbursed as remittances to Cuban families or to others living on the island. “The location of hundreds of millions of dollars is unknown, and a vast fortune is likely sitting in a Communist country,” [the prosecutor] wrote in court papers.