Advanced fee scam results in two arrests in San José

The advance payment fee scheme continues to be alive and well. Judicial agents have made arrests in a presumed scam that was keyed to ads to loan money in local Spanish-language newspapers.

The main victim at this point is a resident of Orotina who advanced 1 million colons, about $2,000 in anticipation of receiving a loan. The victim thought he was making the deposit to a lawyer’s account.

Judicial agents have detained the owner of that account and also a guard, both in downtown San José. They say the guard was the man who actually placed the ad for loans in a daily newspaper.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that a trace of telephone communications between the victim and the scammers showed that the victim was talking to a man who was in prison. The cell phone turned up in a shakedown of cells, agents said.

The investigation began in August, they said. The newspaper ad promised money to refinance mortgages and for other uses.

Criminals in prison frequently are involved in scams and even extortion via the telephone. Although a cell telephone is considered contraband, many are hidden in the country’s prisons. Efforts to block the signals have had limited success.

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