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Feds: Stolen Medicare money wound up in Cuban banks

In an unprecedented case, federal prosecutors have charged a Miami man with engaging in a massive money-laundering operation that moved millions stolen from the federal Medicare program into Cuban banks.

Prosecutors say Oscar Sanchez, 46, was a key leader in a group that funneled $31 million in Medicare dollars into banks in Havana — the first such case that directly traces money fleeced from the beleaguered program into the Cuban banking system.

Most of the money moved through an intricate web of foreign shell companies before ending up in Cuba, to avoid being detected in the United States, said investigators.

“We’re obviously dealing with a very sophisticated network,” said Ron Davidson, an assistant U.S. attorney, during a court hearing on Monday.

The federal investigation marks the first time prosecutors have brought a cash-for-Cuba case in the ongoing battle against Medicare fraud in South Florida, which leads the nation in dollars fleeced from taxpayers. More from Mike Sallah here.