Another scam based in prison offered victims a mythical prize

Bad booze
and no tax
Fuerza Pública officers confiscated 2,794 bottles of alcohol in Tibás and San Miguel de Sarapiquí this week. Some bottles were adulterated and others were smuggled, police said. Here an officer and a tax agent survey some of the bottles. Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública/Paul Gamboa.

Scam artists, including one already in prison have been stealing from Costa Ricans over the last five months, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Thursday they made two arrests. A 51-year-old woman, identified by the last names of González Hernández, was detained at her home in Barrio San José, Alajuela.

Agents did not have to search hard for the other suspect, identified by the last names of González Ortiz.

He was in his cell at the La Reforma prison. He is 40, agents said.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the pair are suspects of offering prizes to individuals through unsolicited telephone calls. The catch is that the supposed winners were asked to pay for the delivery of their mythical prize. The prison inmate made the initial calls and said he was an
employee of some television station that was handing out prizes, said agents.

Agents said that the money was delivered through some of the companies that do that service or by asking the victim to recharge cell telephones simply by providing them with the numbers.

Thursday morning agents said they were working on three cases of this type of fraud linked to the pair. By later afternoon the number had increased to five, they said.

Inmates at the various prisons have been involved in a number of scams and crimes via telephone. In another case, the inmates called persons who had suffered the theft of their car and offered to return the vehicle for a cash payment.

Justice ministry officials who run the prisons appear unable to prevent the smuggling of cell telephones to inmates. There are pay phones in a number of the cell blocks, but those calls are monitored.

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