Crime

Cash, Cuban painting and fancy watches found in Medicare defendants’ Miami home

Some of the assets seized by federal agents when they arrested Jorge Lorenzo and his wife last week at their home in the 900 block of Southwest 94th Avenue, are shown in this photo released by the U.S. Attorney's Office. They found a safe containing $102,000 in cash, a painting by a prominent Cuban artist valued at $25,000, and dozens of Rolex and Cartier watches.
Some of the assets seized by federal agents when they arrested Jorge Lorenzo and his wife last week at their home in the 900 block of Southwest 94th Avenue, are shown in this photo released by the U.S. Attorney's Office. They found a safe containing $102,000 in cash, a painting by a prominent Cuban artist valued at $25,000, and dozens of Rolex and Cartier watches. Courtesy of U.S. Attorney's Office

Jorge Lorenzo won't be spending the holidays with his family in their West Miami-Dade home.

A federal magistrate judge ordered his detention Friday when a prosecutor argued Lorenzo could flee to Cuba after he, his wife and another man were charged with stealing nearly $39 million from the taxpayer-funded Medicare program.

The three defendants are accused of running numerous home healthcare agencies, forging doctors' prescriptions for Medicare services and laundering millions through shell companies.

When federal agents arrested Lorenzo and his wife last week at their home in the 900 block of Southwest 94th Avenue, they found a safe containing $102,000 in cash, a painting by a prominent Cuban artist valued at $25,000, and dozens of Rolex and Cartier watches.

Lorenzo, 36, is accused of conspiring with his wife, Yahima Pardo, 33, to defraud the Medicare program for elderly and disabled people by filing bogus claims for services that were not provided to patients in their homes between 2011 and 2015.

According to an indictment, the couple paid recruiters to supply a stream of Medicare patients and paid others to pose as “nominee” owners of numerous home healthcare agencies in Miami-Dade. The indictment also alleges that Lorenzo conspired with his wife and Roberto De Jesus Alonso, 47, to set up several shell companies to launder Medicare proceeds.

Both Pardo and Alonso were granted bonds of $500,000 and $200,000, respectively. But Lorenzo, detained by Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres, was not as lucky. He will be jailed at the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami until trial.

After obtaining a search warrant last week, agents with the FBI and Health and Human Services found a safe with the cash inside Lorenzo’s home, along with fancy watches and the painting by the late Cuban artist René Portocarrero.

Prosecutor Kevin Larsen filed photos of Lorenzo’s home and seized assets in federal court this week. His defense attorney, Saam Zangeneh, declined to comment on Friday.

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