Medicare fraud fugitive Garcia nabbed in Canary Islands

Alcides Garcia's thick Cuban accent was a dead giveaway.

In February, Garcia went to a shipping company in the Canary Islands to have his personal belongings sent from Miami to the Spanish island off the northwestern coast of Africa.

"The business owner became suspicious because he kept saying he was Mexican, but the owner detected he had a heavy Cuban accent," said Miami FBI special agent Judy Orihuela.

So, the owner Googled Garcia's name on the Internet and up popped a Miami Herald/El Nuevo story published in January that described Garcia as a Cuban-born fugitive wanted on Medicare fraud charges in South Florida. The story, which carried a mug shot of Garcia, confirmed his identity. The owner called the FBI in Miami with an anonymous tip and case agent Robert Cessario contacted the bureau's legal attaché in Madrid.

Garcia later checked into a hotel in the capital city, using his real name and a false Mexican passport. The Spanish National Police did a background check and arrested him on a provisional FBI warrant in mid-March.

Garcia, 44, was flown to Miami last week to face charges – again – of submitting $10.7 million in false claims to Medicare between 2002 and 2004. The federal healthcare program paid $2.2 million to his Hialeah medical equipment business, A&Y Medical Supply, before his initial arrest last June.

Just days before his trial in September, Garcia, who was free on a $200,000 bond, fled from Miami. He traveled to Mexico, then Spain, then the Canary Islands, on the false Mexican passport. Initially, the FBI thought he had escaped to his native Cuba.

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