Costa Rican taxi drivers, language-school workers arrested in fake English diploma scam

March 6, 2015

Agents of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) on Monday raided a private English-language school in the province of Alajuela accused of issuing fake diplomas to taxi drivers who provide transport services at Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside San José.

During the raid, OIJ officers arrested 12 cab drivers and four employees of the language school.

In order to obtain permits to work at the airport, Costa Rica’s Public Transportation Council (CTP) requires taxi drivers to obtain certificates from accredited English-language schools that certify they speak the language at a conversational level. 

According to the OIJ, the targeted school belongs to a foreign owner who allegedly sold diplomas for up to $320 each.

The detained taxi drivers allegedly received their certificates without attending a single lesson.

The OIJ also raided CTP facilities in San José to confiscate all documents related to 100 permits for transport services at the airport that the agency issued last week.

Those permits were issued after last July, when the Public Services Regulatory Authority cancelled a concession granted to private cab company Taxis Unidos, following an investigation into taxis that did not use mandatory taximeters to establish trip rates.

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