Milanes fraud trial put off for at least two weeks more

A fraud trial for Luis Milanes, the operator of the failed Savings Unlimited, has been postponed at least two weeks. The trial was supposed to start July 1, but now the date is July 15.

Legal sources said that Milanes has been seeing additional postponements, so far without success.

There are some 475 or so individuals who told prosecutors that they put money in his high-interest scheme up until November 2002 when the firm closed and Milanes left town. There were many more customers, but the bulk have ignored the legal proceedings.

The casino owner tried to come to some agreement with the investors. Key elements were surrendering the downtown Hotel Europa and the creation of a court-sponsored trust to hold properties surrendered by Milanes.

That has not worked out according to plan either. The trust has tried multiple time to evict Milanes from the hotel where he had been running one of his casinos.

The efforts so far has been unsuccessful even though the trust is the technical owner of the hotel.

Milanes has creative legal representation. Some last-minute gambit is expected.

Savings Unlimited was one of a handful of high-interest schemes the thrived in Costa Rica before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. The attacks resulted in tightening on the controls of transferring money.  That constricted the firms that were largely involved in unspecified financial businesses.

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