Lawyer takes issue with characterization given by prosecutor

Arcelio Hernández

Arcelio Hernández Mussio has taken issue with news stories branding him a fake lawyer and a fraudster.

Hernández, a former A.M. Costa Rica advertiser, was identified by Al Día and Channel 7 Teletica as a fraud suspect. Al Día incorrectly headlined its story “Fake lawyer sought in fraud case.”

Hernández said in a response to a summary of the Al Día story that “a desperate prosecutor will do anything to carry on a personal vendetta!” He was referring to prosecutors in San Joaquín de Flores, Heredia, who provided the information for the Teletica television story and the one in Al Día. Teletica identified him by his last names. Al Día identified him just as Hernández. Both news outlets ran his photograph that appears to have been taken by a surveillance camera at a bank or office.

Teletica conducted a brief interview with the lawyer via telephone Tuesday.  Wednesday Hernández posted his comments in Costa Rica Report, an A.M. Costa Rica sister publication that provides brief summaries of selected news stories from the Spanish-language press.

“Now they are telling the population and the world that I am not a licensed attorney,” he said. “Pretty low, below the belt attack, in their persistence of not allowing me to view all evidence in the case file, even after the constitutional court has ordered them to do so. The case is over a year old, and they present it as something new.”

The Al Día story said that the lawyer offered to give advice to foreigners who were purchasing property. The story, citing information from the Ministerio Público, the nation’s agency of prosecutors, said that the fraud involved five victims who came to the country to purchase a hotel.

Hernández specialized in property transfers and works
under the name of Bufete Hernandez Mussio & Asociados, first in San José and later in Jacó. He is a native of Desamparados. Hernández also is a notary, a position a step higher than a graduate lawyer. He also has been a member of the Central Pacific Chamber of Commerce and the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce. At one time he gave seminars for expats in Jacó. He also said on his Web site that he is an official translator listed with the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto. He attended junior college in California and is fully fluent in English.

What is unclear is why anyone would not know he is a Costa Rican lawyer. His Web site is active and he has been mentioned in a number of news stories about legal cases, including in A.M. Costa Rica.

“The case is over a year old, and they present it as something new,” said Hernández in his Costa Rica Report posting. “Plus, it is ONE case, ONE dispute by ONE group of foreigners, ONE hotel, ONE deal in which there is a dispute in over 10 years of existence of my company, which over the years has managed tens of millions of dollars in a responsible manner. The people who know me know the kind of person I am . . . . “

The lawyer did not say from where he was writing. He told Teletica that he was not ready to visit with prosecutors.

The television station had characterized him as an individual in flight.

Hernández said that the news stories were a gift from God. He suggested that he would file an action for defamation and get money. “Not the first time the Public Ministry shows this type of incompetence,” he said. “They should focus their energy on violent crime, and leave this private matter alone.”

He also provided his lawyer license number and a link to the Colegio de Abogados to verify that he really is a lawyer.

That was not necessary because he is known personally to editors at A.M. Costa Rica, and he has provided legal consultation for the parent company of the newspaper as well as opinion articles for publication. He had advertised for five years in the A.M. Costa Rica professional directory.

This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.