Her husband said the family was not going to comment on the arrest. However, his teenage daughter posted her feelings on her Twitter account. Last Sunday, on Father’s Day, the girl wrote: “I would love to be with my daddy today. I miss you so much.”
Immediately after the divorce, Sánchez began to live with Ilens Regla Martínez, with whom he had worked in the printing shop. In October 1997, the couple bought a house at a new development in Doral. They were married in Coral Gables in 1998.
For unknown reasons, the couple decided to try their luck on Florida’s other coast. In March 1999, Martínez bought a huge house for $156,100 in a rural zone in northeast Naples. Sánchez does not appear as owner of this property.
Martínez, a real estate agent, declined to respond to El Nuevo Herald reporters who visited her this past week. “I have nothing to talk about with you,” said Martínez, with whom Sánchez has another daughter.
A GREEN ENTERPRISE
A year after arriving in Naples, Sánchez again ran into trouble with the law. At that time, court records show, he was renting an apartment about three miles from his house.
In November 2000, employees of the apartment complex reported that they had accidentally discovered marijuana plants in Sánchez’s apartment. The detective investigating the case said that there were 174 marijuana plants, special lighting, a sprinkling system, a tank of carbon dioxide and other farming materials, according to a report from Collier County police.
Police also said that they found fingerprints that matched Sanchez’s on two pieces of aluminum paper covering the walls. He was arrested, but the charges were dropped later. The case records were destroyed after five years in compliance with state law.
Sánchez started having financial problems in 2000. Shortly before the marijuana plants were discovered, he and Martínez were sued by a company that had built them a luxurious pool with a fountain, a project valued at $29,099. The company alleged that the couple owed them $3,614.
They were also sued for not making payments on a credit card and for a Chrysler automobile. They finally filed for bankruptcy.
In 2001, the couple founded All About Billing, a medical billing enterprise. Three years later they opened another business, Estates Business Center, a check-cashing office that also gave immigration advice.
Authorities say that it was between 2005 and 2009 that Sánchez used his position to lead a group of money launderers in a complex web of phony companies that committed Medicare fraud. The companies, created by a group of Cubans in Miami, claimed about $374 million from the federal program and received more than $70 million in reimbursements.
Sánchez cashed checks for a commission and transferred money to Canada, the Caribbean and, finally, to Cuba, according to federal prosecutors. They claim that the scheme transferred $31 million to banks in Cuba.
All of this supposedly occurred in what seemed to be a modest business located between a hair-stylist and a supermarket of Hispanic products in the outskirts of Naples. None of the neighbors had any suspicion of the laundering allegedly taking place.
“I had no idea they were involved in something like this,” said Armando Cabrera, owner of the shopping center. “During the time they were here, they were not a problem.”