Coast Guard suspends search for Miami man wanted on Medicare fraud charges

 
 
Robert A. Garcia-Esquerro
Robert A. Garcia-Esquerro
Courtesy/U.S. COAST GUARD

aviglucci@MiamiHerald.com

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended a search off the Florida Keys for an overdue boater who is wanted on federal Medicare fraud charges.

Robert A. Garcia-Esquerro, 43, disappeared after leaving the Key West Marina on the morning of May 3 aboard Miss Juliette, a 28-foot center-console boat with a yellow stripe.

Garcia-Esquerro’s wife reported him missing the next day, saying he had failed to return from what he said would be a fishing trip.

Federal officials subsequently disclosed that Garcia-Esquerro was wanted on fraud charges in Miami, raising the possibility that he had fled. Numerous suspects sought on healthcare fraud charges in South Florida have dodged the legal system by returning home to Cuba.

The Coast Guard said Friday it suspended its search for Garcia-Esquerra after covering 12,804 nautical miles in the Florida Straits. Two Coast Guard cutters, a helicopter and a plane assisted in the unsuccessful search, according to the Coast Guard.

Because Garcia-Esquerro was charged with Medicare fraud under a sealed indictment, it’s unclear whether he knew he was facing arrest.

Garcia-Esquerro once worked for several mental health clinics in Miami-Dade, including his father’s facility, Latin Quarter, which operated on Flagler Street during the previous decade. Latin Quarter, which closed in 2010, was among the top-billing Medicare-licensed psychotherapy clinics in the nation, filing more than $10 million annually, records show.

The father, Robert F. Garcia-Esquerro, is a disbarred Cuban American lawyer who was convicted of money laundering and bank fraud in 1993, according to Miami federal court records. He was sentenced to two years in prison. After his release, the father opened numerous healthcare and other businesses, records show.

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