U.S. scammer convicted in murder-for-hire plots

A U.S. citizen who graduated from being a multi-million-dollar scammer to the intellectual author of two murders got a 50-year sentence in a criminal court Wednesday.

He is Jeffery Allan Pearson, who made up to $13 million scamming mostly retired U.S. residents with fake business opportunities.

Also convicted were two former policemen who were the trigger men. The killings were attributed to business differences.

Agents said the trio were linked to a murder Nov. 1, 2006, of a Colombian man at the Las Garantías Sociales traffic circle and the killing of a pirate taxi driver Sept. 9, 2007, in Los Anonos de Escazú.

The murder Nov. 1, 2006, took place in Zapote and claimed the life of Diego López Enao, a Colombian and caused injury to a Limón resident in the same car identified as Roy Ricardo Lindo Calvo, then 34. In all, killers pumped 17 bullets into the vehicle. Police suspect the weapon was an Uzi machine pistol.

A female taxi passenger survived the Sept. 9, 2007, attack when killers failed to see her in the back seat of the vehicle which had polarized windows. The confrontation took place near the Los Anonos bridge in Escazú and took the life of the driver, Luis Guillermo Rojas Meza, also formerly of Colombia.

The scam was operated at times under the name of Twin Peaks Gourmet Coffee Inc. Phone salesmen tried to convince individuals to send money for coffee machines or sometimes other types of vending machines. The U.S. Justice department characterized the operation as a voice-over-Internet scam. Victims thought the callers were in the United States. Actually they were in Escazú or La Sabana.

Had Pearson not been charged with the killings, he faced extradition to the United States. Many of his associates have received long sentences there. They included Stephen Schultz and Sirtaj Mathauda, who used the name of Mark Boland.

The convictions likely will be appealed.

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