To wit: he bought a Rolls Royce Ghost, a Bentley, a Range Rover, a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG and two unidentified luxury cars with some of the ill-gotten gains. (The coupe version of the Mercedes sells for $163,150, according to this web site, and will go 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds. The Rolls sells for $289,250 to $321,900, according to Car and Driver.)
Suarez rolled around Miami in the vehicles himself but also leased them to high-end car rental companies in an attempt to make it appear that the vehicles were part of a legitimate business, according to the court papers. But he also bought two homes, more than a dozen trucks and $100,000 in jewelry, some of which he immediately pawned for cash. Suarez also ran up more than $2 million on credit cards and nearly $57,000 in restaurant charges, according to the documents, which were filed as part of Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Cruz’s efforts to secure a 14-year sentence.
In an inspired attempt to launder some of the money, Suarez bought three FedEx trucks and told authorities he was operating FedEx routes (presumably as a franchisee), which were worth at least a half million dollars.
If the young Cuban immigrant’s spending was a little unusual, the family’s fraud was garden variety. He, his mother and his aunts, all licensed pharmacy technicians, ran eight small pharmacies in Miami that served as fronts for their activity. Suarez paid patients and recruiters to gain access to Medicare ID numbers, then billed the insurance program for the elderly for medications that were never dispensed.
Suarez pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to commit healthcare and wire fraud, according to the Miami Herald. He and his family were snared as part of nation-wide crackdown on Medicare and Medicaid fraud that was announced June, when the Justice Department charged 243 people with $712 million in false billings.
[interstitial_link url="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/government-arrests-243-in-largest-ever-crackdown-on-health-care-fraud/2015/06/18/43a6f1be-15e1-11e5-89f3-61410da94eb1_story.html"]Government arrests 243 in largest ever crackdown on health-care fraud[/interstitial_link]
In an attempt to get a lower sentence, Suarez’s defense attorney, Frank Quintero, argued that his client stole just $5.5 million from the Medicare program, according to the Herald. Quintero also said that Suarez had never been in trouble until he was manipulated by an aunt
“Unfortunately, due to his young age and sense of familial duty, Mr. Suarez allowed himself to be involved in the instant conspiracy,” Quintero wrote in court papers.