Several groups of former Villalobos high-interest lenders are considering lawsuits against the entire Villalobos extended family in an effort to get back some of the money they lost in the collapse of the estimated $2 billion business more than 10 years ago.
That was disclosed Friday in an email from yet another group that has tried to sue the government for its role in bringing down the Villalobos operation. The group that sent the email is the United Concerned Citizens & Residents. This is the organization that still supports Luis Enrique Villalobos Camacho, who is a fugitive. It is the same group whose members were shocked when a panel of judges sent Oswaldo Villalobos Camacho to prison on an allegation of aggravated fraud.
The email did not say who was involved in the groups that are seeking to sue the Villalobos family, but it did say that “from the beginning we have refused to be enlisted in such schemes as we believe that LEV would want to return whatever funds are available on his own, without being forced to do so.” The acronym for Luis Enrique Villalobos is in common use among expats.
This is the same group that conducted an extensive campaign seeking Villalobos creditors to drop criminal charges. Those who did failed to share in the cash awards the court ordered in the Oswaldo Villalobos sentence.
The United Concerned Citizens & Residents email denigrated the lawsuits against the family, saying that the lawyers involved would get 10 to 30 percent commissions.
It was well known at the time of his conviction that Oswaldo Villalobos owned real estate that the courts did not include in the criminal action. United Concerned Citizens & Residents did express concern that it had not received any communications from Luis Enrique Villalobos. “We have not heard from LEV for a very long time, and do not know if anyone has, including the family that has likewise been uncommunicative,” said the email.
But they said they had hopes that there might be some developments when the statute of limitations goes into effect this month. They estimated that the statute of limitation would be 10 years.
“We are disappointed by the lack of communications but we must assume that there are serious reasons that prevent any contact, and can only hope and pray for his safety and well being,” the email said.
Luis Enrique and Oswaldo ran the high-interest borrowing operation, known as The Brothers, for years, and a high percentage of the creditors were U.S. citizens. Those who participated got up to 3 percent a month on their cash investments each month. Many rolled over their interest, but others withdrew the money that was delivered in cash in bulky envelopes at the Mall San Pedro offices that Luis Enrique shared with his brother’s money exchange operation.
The court that convicted Oswaldo said the men were running a ponzi scheme, and declined to convict Oswaldo of money laundering.
However, prosecutors were unable to say exactly what the operation did. The Villalobos operation was one of a number of similar high-interest businesses in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Many of the other operators actually invested with the Villalobos and paid a slightly lesser amount of interest to their clients. An extensive list of A.M. Costa Rica articles on this topic can be found HERE!