Inspector accused of a small-time extortion scheme

A small-scale extortion scheme shows how pervasive and small time corruption is in official circles.

Judicial agents detained a city employee Thursday on the allegation that he was trying to extort from 500 to 1,000 colons from people on the street who sell parking permissions to motorists.

The case revolves around those pesky tickets or boletas motorists have to buy in order to park legally in some sections of the city.

The area involved in this case is in the vicinity of Hospital Calderón Guardia in northern San José.

According to the Judicial Investigating Agency the victims were the individuals who sell the boletas to motorists on commission.

According to the allegation, the man who was detained told these self-employed individuals that he
would make life difficult for them unless they started making payments. The man was described as an inspector de control vial. This is a city employee who goes around the high traffic areas making sure that the boleta sellers are doing their job and that every vehicle has a valid ticket stuck under the windshield wiper or on the dashboard. The boletas are for various time periods.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that in September, the suspect is accused of contacting the ticket vendors seeking these small payoffs saying that if he found a vehicle that was 30 seconds over the specified time he would issue a violation notice. That would jeopardize the vendors’ status. They buy the boletas at a discounted price. Their profit is the difference between the price motorists pay and the amount they pay.

Some of the street boleta vendors approached judicial agents, and the man is accused of four counts of extortion.

He was detained Thursday morning at his government office.

The amount 500 colons is just about $1 U.S.

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