San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. Fugitive and Son Given Preventive Prison

He authored a banking scam in Costa Rica that collapsed in 1977, then fled to the United States where he was arrested and escaped from prison in 1982, then fled back to Costa Rica.

But it looks like Arnoldo Rodríguez’s perpetual fugitive status may have caught up with him.

The Costa Rican and his 21-year-old son were arrested by Costa Rican authorities and given a year of preventive prison recently for their alleged involvement in writing a bunk check and feigning a fraudulent money transfer to purchase a Mercedes Benz, according to Judicial Branch spokesman Federico Venegas.

Rodríguez was also arrested for allegations of writing bad checks for a quad and air-conditioning installation, and he’s accused of the fraudulent sale to U.S. investors of a hotel in Playa Naranjo.

Rodríguez’s perpetual habit of fleeing fraud allegations began in 1977, when Latin America Bank or Grupo Proin, a Caymanbased bank, collapsed after loaning heavily to companies belonging to a local consortium operated by Rodríguez (TT, Dec. 17, 1982).

After the bank collapse, Rodríguez slipped to the United States, but was soon convicted there of another offshore bank scheme, according to International Police (Interpol) agent Emilio León. He escaped minimum-security prison in the U.S. state of California in 1982, and boarded a waiting plane to flee back to Costa Rica, where he has spent much of his time (TT,May 19, 2006).

He has had an international capture order out against him by the U.S. government since, according to León.

Rodríguez denied The Tico Times’ request to interview him in prison.


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