Two U.S. citizens were arrested last week on charges of selling investments in fraudulent businesses, and will spend the next two months in Costa Rican prisons pending extradition to their home country.
Patrick Williams and Silvio Carrano were arrested in connection with vending machine and greeting card businesses they are alleged to have started. According to the U.S. Justice Department, they fraudulently induced people in the United States to buy false business opportunities. Most investors paid $10,000 for shares in the companies, but never received the promised returns.
Tony West, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a statement that business opportunity fraud is a serious crime that imposes significant financial hardship on innocent, hardworking victims. He said the Justice Department will continue its push to prosecute those who defraud U.S. citizens “to make a quick buck.”
Williams and Carrano face up to 25 years in prison on charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
A third partner in the scam, Donald Williams, was arrested May 7 in Houston, Texas, and a fourth, Gregory Britt Fleming, remains at large. The United States is urging anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Fleming to call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Miami, Florida, at (954) 436-7200.
According to Costa Rican authorities, Williams was arrested Tuesday in the western San José suburb of Escazú, while Carrano was taken into custody in San Rafael de Heredia, north of the capital.