OIJ Jumps on Elaborate $200,000 Fraud Scheme

February 15, 2008
The Judicial Investigation Police announced successful raids on the homes of eight alleged con artists in the Central Valley.
According to police, the suspects – last names Soto, Prenda, Arce, Arguello,Mata, Zúñiga, Gutiérrez, and Navarro – used two estates of a foreigner in Heredia as security to acquire a $200,000 mortgage from a private bank. To use the estates as security, the alleged perpetrators, among them two lawyers, changed the legal representative of the Heredia estates at the National Registry, which keeps track of properties and corporations, and put them in their names.
Then, one of the con artists allegedly presented fake documents to set herself up as the guarantor for the mortgage.When notaries who worked for the legitimate foreign owner, who wasn’t aware of the fraud, began the process of selling the properties, the money transferred to the con artist who requested the mortgage in the first place.
As soon as the mortgage was approved, one of the con artists requested the money be deposited in small amounts at intervals in the names of the other seven alleged con artists who were listed as her creditors.
Property owners in Costa Rica can avoid being the victim of this type of fraud by frequently checking the National Registry to make sure no one has changed your legal representative without your knowledge.
 

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