Conviction of notary is latest step in a series of property fraud cases

A complex series of property frauds has moved close to resolution with the conviction of a notary and the issuing of a prison sentence of 24 years.

The case involves seven incidents of property fraud. For administrative reasons, three of the cases have not yet been brought to trial.

The current cases involve four properties and a notary with the last names of  Parini Segura. He was the man sentenced.

In Costa Rican law notaries have great legal power. Prosecutors say that Parini grossly abused his power by blatantly forging documents that transfered real estate without the knowledge of the owners. The Poder Judicial said he used four techniques.

In one case he simply wrote a fake document in his notary book involving a corporation held by a foreigner. The corporate books were in the control of the owner in another country, but the notary document was presented as if it was authentic. As a result another individual was able to transfer the property for 42 million colons, or about $77,000.

The man who negotiated the fraudulent sale still is in flight, prosecutors said.

In another case involving a corporation, a new and fake slate of officers was named via false documents.

Despite the obvious nature of the frauds, investigators spent a lot of time obtaining information. The first case was said to have taken place in 2011. The last was in the early part of 2013, said the Poder Judicial. The arrest was made in early 2013.

The trial took place in July and the early part of this month.

But the case still is not over.  Parini has been remanded to preventative detention while a higher court hears the case. There may even be appeals.

A second notary admitted his role in an abbreviated process earlier this year. He received two and a half years in prison. Whether he actually will serve time is uncertain. Usually persons who receive a sentence of three years or less and have a clean record receive conditional discharge.

A woman who also was involved in putting a mortgage on a property illegally has been ordered to repay the mortgage. The property involved went to auction when the woman did not pay the periodic charges on the mortgage, said the Poder Judicial.

The property belongs to some of her family members, the Poder Judicial said.

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