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Miami makes a dubious appearance -- top health care fugitives

The first-ever list of most wanted health care fraud fugitives has been released -- and the top three hail from Miami.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Inspector General issued the list this week in hopes of focusing public attention -- and catching a few of the most-wanted.

"With the list, the agency is "asking the public’s help in tracking down fugitives," said inspector general Daniel Levinson. "The public has a stake in the fight against fraud, waste, and abuse."

The blog, Capitol Hill Cubans, notes that 7 of the 10 are Cuban and notes a recent University of Miami report that quotes an anonymous former Cuban official as suggesting that the government in Havana is "orchestrating and assisting" in large-scale Medicare fraud in the U.S.

Federal authorities began cracking down on Medicare offenders in 2005, leading to the prosecution of some 3,000 defendants charged with bilking the federal healthcare program. But in all those cases, prosecutors have never asserted that the Cuban government was orchestrating any of the Medicare rackets run by Cuban exiles in South Florida.

FBI and Health and Human Services agents have said privately that they’ve always wondered if the Castro brothers were behind the wave of Medicare cases, but haven't been able to uncover any proof linking the Cuban government to the widespread fraud in Miami and beyond.

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