Note: This blog's templates will be updated this afternoon to a responsive design bringing it in line with

At that time, we will also change to the Facebook commenting system. You will need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment.

« Rick Scott pollster finds marijuana very popular in Florida | Main | ACLU, NAACP meet with Bondi on civil rights issues »

Iowa Senator: Is the Cuban government running South Florida Medicare fraud?

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley is asking the Department of Health and Human Services to look into whether the Cuban government is helping to scam the U.S. Medicare system.

The Hill reports that the Republican "asked Health and Human Services officials testifying before the Senate Finance Committee whether they were aware of any evidence that Cuba might be involved in fraud.." The department last month unveiled its top 10 most wanted Medicare fraud fugitives and 7 of the 10 had ties to Cuba.

The allegations of potential meddling by Cuba surfaced last month in coverage of a University of Miami report that quoted 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.