ARCHIVE Published Monday, August 20, 2018 - First news page


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Former Bank of Costa Rica president arrested

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The attorney general confirmed that the former president of the Bank of Costa Rica, Paola Mora, was accused of complicity in the cement scandal and was arrested and detained Friday at 6 a.m.

Mora was admitted to the cells of the Judicial Investigation Organization of the First Judicial Circuit of San José for several hours.

The investigation into the case of cement imports from China is continuing. Mora is accused of the crime of influence peddling and embezzlement.

The arrest comes as part of an operation that included nine raids conducted by the Attorney General's Office. The raids made it was possible to confiscate physical and digital evidence related to the case.

The extensive operation was carried out with raids in several places:

- The house of the suspect Mora

- A law firm located in Escazú, where an apparent partner of Mora works.

- Mora's brother's house.

- Another lawyer's firm owned by Mora.

- Then the investigators proceeded to cover several offices in the Bank of Costa Rica, among them, the office of the marketing manager, the offices of the Department of Commercial Institutional Division, the offices of the Corporate Banking Department, and the offices of the Department of Real Estate Investment Fund Management Company.

The Bank of Costa Rica published a  statement and said that it would give full support to the prosecution in the investigation.

"We reiterate the commitment of the new administration of the BCR Conglomerate to provide future information, which the judicial authorities require for the development of the investigation," the statement said.

Mora's attorney, José Miguel Villalobos,  made a public statement saying that the prosecution did not proceed in the best way, given that Mora had offered all the documents a year ago.

"Since almost a year ago, we went to the Prosecutor's Office and indicated that Mrs. Paola was totally willing to hand over all the documentation, computer, file or whatever they occupied without a judge's order," he said.

"In the same way, they did not require an order to lift bank secrecy, because at the time they asked for it, Mrs. Paola gave that to them, so I do not understand why they had to act like that today," he said.

The investigation into this case as a result of the $38 million loan that was apparently delivered irregularly to a businessman name Bolaños, who was importing cement from China. The whole case is publicly known as Cementazo.


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A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
 
Mora was admitted to the cells of the Judicial Investigation Organization of the First Judicial Circuit
of San José for several hours.



In addition to the suspicions that relate Mora to the Cementazo case, there is another investigation into a loan that she obtained from the Bank of Costa Rica, in which she apparently got special conditions. This happened in 2017, and this case is also being investigated.

According to the Cementazo investigation of the Attorney General's Office, several high level managers of the Bank of Costa Rica omitted the procedures, or security protocols, required to analyze the payment capacity of Bolaños in relation to the amount of credit requested. This negligence could be an indication of bank fraud, officials have said.

Bolaños is being investigated for giving the Bank of Costa Rica guarantee documents for the importation of the cement from China.

According to the Office of the Prosecutor, Bolaños obtained part of the multi-million dollar loan when he was already behind in debt payments. In other words, he was a delinquent client.

All this is detailed in a series of judicial files which show that the investigation is for the crime of embezzlement, implying the misappropriation of public funds among other misdeeds.

In November 2017, the Office of the Prosecutor ordered the arrest of five management members of the bank, including another ex-manager named Barrenechea, who is now on home detention, and the businessman Bolaños, who is in provisional or preventative detention.

The remaining suspects have had precautionary measures imposed, that is, they cannot leave the country while the investigations continue.

Mora was released on Saturday with the condition of precautionary measures that include presenting herself to the court to sign in every 15 days, being prohibited from leaving the country and being prohibited from communicating with witnesses or other persons involved with the case.



U.N. condemns intolerant expressions in Costa Rica

By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A group of protesters, that authorities number at about 100, walked through the main avenues of San José Saturday to show their anger over the increase of Nicaraguan immigrants arriving in the country.

The police detain 44 of the protesters, who were causing a disturbance in the public area. Officers confiscated weapons such as knives and four homemade bombs known as Molotov cocktails, they said.

Michael Soto, the Minister of Public Security, at the press conference said: "The judicial records of the detainees were analyzed, and it turned out that most of them had a criminal record."

According to the police report: "Some of the people who were in the march were followers of Nazi and anarchist ideologies."

According to the official report: "The Saturday demonstrations began at La Merced Park, continued to Central Park and ended at the Plaza de la Cultura, where the participants caused riots and attacked the police."

This march, described as xenophobic against Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica, was censored by the international community.

In an official statement, the United Nations rejected the aggression and discriminatory and xenophobic manifestations against Nicaraguans that occurred in different parts of San José. Alice Shackelford, U.N. resident coordinator in Costa Rica said:

"We call on the Costa Rican authorities to protect and safeguard the security and human rights of migrant and refugee populations who, for various reasons, be they economic, social or political, have had to leave their countries and have reached Costa Rica in search of help."

In addition, the U.N. said that Costa Rica is an internationally recognized country for its commitment to human rights, peace and solidarity and that it is convinced that the xenophobic expressions of the groups that demonstrated in San Jose do not represent the thinking of Costa Rican society in general.


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Police Ministry courtesy  photo   

According to the police report: "Some of the people who were in the march were followers of Nazi and anarchist ideologies."

"We are against all kinds of racism, intolerance and xenophobic expressions. In Costa Rica there should be no place for hatred, violence and discrimination. The Ticos and Ticas are respectful and very supportive people and we can affirm that these hate actions and speeches do not represent the great majority," the statement said.

"We strongly condemn any violence that affects civilians, and we express our support for the Costa Rican state in its actions against any group that endangers the social peace of the country with expressions or acts of violence and xenophobia," said Shackelford.

Referring to these manifestations, President Carlos Alvarado said: "We are facing the calls of hatred or violence, and good sense, prudence, intelligence and solidarity must prevail."



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Published  Monday, August 20, 2018 - Second news page
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Earthquake of 6.2 felt in Costa Rica and Panama

By A.M. Costa Rica staff


The National Seismological Network confirmed that an earthquake with a 6.2 magnitude occurred Friday at 5:22 p.m.

The epicenter of the earthquake was 7 km south of Golfito at a depth of 20 km. It was a subduction quake in the interface zone of the Coco Plate and the Panama Block. The quake had a duration of three seconds.

The strongest intensity was noted in the towns of Puerto Jiménez, Río Claro, Ciudad Neilly and the Cuesta de Corredores.

The report also noted that the quake was felt in the Panamanian towns of Progreso, Asserio, and Puerto Armuelles.

More than 80 quakes were recorded in the first two hours after the main event. The strongest aftershock was 5.1 in intensity.

Although there were some power outages, the National Electricity Power Co. reported that the electricity service was completely restored throughout the country.

Mario Protti, an expert of the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica, said: "It was located 20 kilometers just below Golfito. We have damage reports in shops. The earthquake has a tectonic origin for the Cocos and Panama plates."

The expert said that it is normal for the Southern Zone to have frequent earthquakes.

"The area has a lot of potential for this type of earthquake in the Osa Peninsula. We could not determine cycles or other possible tremors because it is too early to make interpretations, but we can perform analyzes in the next few hours," he added.


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National Seismological Network courtesy photo        
 
More than 80 quakes were recorded in the first
two hours after the main event.



Staff of the Emergencies National Commission reported that there were landslides and structural damage in some locations.

"We did monitoring throughout the country. Fortunately there is no significant damage. Electricity is missing in several locations such as Osa, Pavón and Puerto Jimenez. At the moment what we have in hospitals is that people with nervous problems," said Alexander Solis, president of the emergency commission.




 
Earthquake of 6.2 felt in Costa Rica and Panama

By A.M. Costa Rica staff


The municipal band of Acosta received the credential that accredits it as a participant band of the renowned Rose Parade that takes place every Jan. 1st in Pasadena, California.

The president of the Rose Parade, Gerald Freeny, was in charge of delivering these credentials which filled the canton and the whole country with pride. A Costa Rican band will showcase itself before the whole world and it will be the only participating band from Latin America. 

"We are here to celebrate what we have in Costa Rica, what we must take care of and we must maintain over time," said President Carlos Alvarado.

The director of the Municipal Band of Acosta, José Manuel Mora said: "The parade is the most famous in the world and that is why it will allow them to open a showcase for their art and music, something that characterizes this canton.”

The band paraded through the streets of San José as a way to celebrate this crowning achievement made through the efforts and perseverance of all the members of the band.


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Band of Acosta courtesy  photo        
 
A Costa Rican band will showcase itself before the whole world and it will be the only participating band from Latin America.






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Published Monday, August 20, 2018 - Third news page
....
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New Virilla Bridge was inaugurated
 

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

On Friday, President Alvarado inaugurated the new two lane, in the San Jose to Santa Ana direction, in the river on Rio Virilla.

According to the report of the Ministry of Transport, at least 40,000 vehicles a day will be able to transit through the renewed bridge.

The renewed bridge, aims to decongest the road to Santa Ana, especially on the road that goes to the town of Belen.

The bridge allows driving in the four lanes over the Virilla River, has new lighting and new pedestrian sidewalks.

Alvarado highlighted the efficiency and planning with which this work was carried out, where the effects on users was minimum during the construction time, because mayor part of the work was carried out in the early hours.

"This work gives us back the confidence that these things can be done in our country. I am very pleased because this road will improve the living conditions of the people who pass through here every day, " the president said.

According to the Public Works, the bridge works had a cost of $8.5 million, financed by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE).

"It should be noted that the duration of the construction of the bridge was maintained within the estimated period of 14 months, and within the agreed budget," said Alejandro Rossi, Director of the National Union of Bridges in Costa Rica.


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Ministry of Transport courtesy  photo          

According to the Public Works, the bridge works had a cost of $8.5 million, financed by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE).

The modern design of the bridge, with inclined piles placed on the slopes of the river canyon, reduced costs, time and impacts on the environment, without invading the protection area of the river bed and enabling the construction of walkways under the river bridge, which will serve to access all strategic points of the superstructure of the bridge and public services, allowing monitoring and maintenance.



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Published Monday, August 20, 2018 -  Fourth news page


New call center for migratory procedures from Panama
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By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Epsy Campbell, announced a the new call center for migratory procedures from the consulates located in Panama City and the city of David.

The call service would start later this year. People can apply for visas, notarial procedures, request passports and registrations.

The bank established for the payment of these services is the International Bank of Costa Rica S.A.

Campbell said this about the new service: "We continue our efforts to strengthen the strategy of economic diplomacy, in order to contribute tangible results to economic and social growth."

According to the Ministry, Nicaragua is another country with this same type of agreement was started in 2017. The call service is provided in Managua and Chinandega.

That system allowed to the country to reduce the procedures and eliminate waiting lines where visas were being requested.

The methodology is that the customer pays the fee at the bank and then is attended by a team of operators specialized in the subject of visas, passports and other paperwork.

According to the report, this technological solution avoids the waiting lines for these procedures.

The types of paperwork that can be done via Panama phone are:

-Visas: Labor, tourism and student.
-Passport: Application for the first time and renewals.
- Registration: Birth, marriage, death, identity card and electoral transfer.
- Notarial services in general.

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A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo       

According to the report, this technological solution
avoids the waiting lines for these procedures.



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Published Monday, August 20, 2018 -  Fifth news page

Social Security will not receive cash payments

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

As of Sept. 1, Social Security will not receive cash payments downtown.

The institution receives payments for employee insurance, personal or voluntary insurance, and loan payments. As of Sept. 1, payments will only be received with a savings card, from a credit card from any issuer or a bank transfer.

The institution guarantees that card payments will be faster since all branches in the country have a data-phone.

As explained by the lawyer Iván Guardia Rodríguez, financial accounting director of the Social Security Fund:

"This measure will start at the Social Security headquarters and will be extended progressively throughout the country with the hope that by January 2019, cash payments will no longer be received at its offices."

Social Security has 3,660 offices throughout the country, where card payments can be made.

Rónald Lacayo, financial manager in charge, and the chief financial officer explained: "All Social Security offices have ATMs of the institution as well as ATMs of all other banks, public and private, so the client can have the confidence to pay with any type of card."

Additionally, Social Security offers the online platform on its website, so payments can be made bank transfer, without loss of time.

According to the Social Security report, there are 394,000 independent workers and insured volunteers who can now make their payments with credit cards or savings.


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A.M. Costa Rica archive photo       

Social Security has 3,660 offices throughout the country,
where card payments can be made.

To make payments online, an individual must enter the Social Security website, www.ccss.sa.cr, and select the option of Virtual Office. Users must have their access code before they can use this online service. The access code is requested in the services platform at any Social Security headquarters.

In addition, the insured must print the proof of payment and present it at medical appointments.



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Most estate planning books focus on legal formalities. Pa$$ing On: What’s Fair in Family Inheritance? delves deeper, helping you avoid emotional minefields and create a will that’s fair to your survivors. Former Costa Rica resident Ruth Dixon-Mueller, Ph.D. brings a unique perspective to bear on inheritance practices in the United States. Published Sept. 2017; $14.00 plus shipping at Amazon. Click Here

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Trapped In The Damas Cave, Costa Rica
A true story by author Dusty Pilot, who lived in Costa Rica for 11 years. Dusty tells his horrifying story of being trapped in the Damas Cave, near Quepos, for 26 hours. The book is available from Amazon in both digital and print format. Digital format will be on sale for $2.99. Visit Amazon to preview or purchase Click Here
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"No Meek Messiah"
The author Paulkovich says Jesus was a mythical-character. From the page 55 (Roman leaders decide they need a god, any viable god, to hold the flagging empire together) and page 61 (in 391AD, Roman Emperor Theodosius elevates Jesus, posthumously, to divinity.)
From the author of "No Meek Messiah" Click Here
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"Beyond All Religion"
In that book, author Samuel Butler agrees with the thrust of Paulkovich’s new book, revealing that Christianity was chosen by a vote at the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE over several other contending religions. Sample Sam’s book Click Here
Youtube with awesome revelations Click Here

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The Dark Side of Pura Vida: Murder, Betrayal, Abduction and Revenge in the Vacation Paradise
By James J. Brodell
Retired baseball player Jack Patterson becomes suspicious after his younger sister dies in a Pacific Ocean rip tide while on vacation in Costa Rica. Jack has to go there to find answers to troubling questions.
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The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica: The official guide to relocation
By Christopher Howard
This guidebook was published to HELP people of all ages and budgets move to Costa Rica SUCCESSFULLY and make their dreams come true.
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Life is a Tropical Garden
By Victoria Torley
A quirky look at gardening in the tropics. What happens when a "Northern" gardener moves to Costa Rica? You have no idea.
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Make gifts from dollars or colones
Running out of gift ideas? Author Dusty Pilot has just released easy to follow, step-by-step instructions for turning bills (dollars or colones) of any denomination into unique gifts such as flowers: roses, daffodils, daisies and poinsettias; shirts and blouses, and birds with flapping wings. Preview or purchase at Amazon. Click Here

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The Trouble with Cash
By John H Paterson
Greg and Liz must sell their property in Costa Rica to finance their retirement. They receive an offer for their full asking price of $1million, but it comes with one condition... the payment is to be in cash. They go for it. Things go wrong. The money is stolen.The local police are no help so Greg devises his own plan to get their money back. Buy the book on Amazon. Click Here
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Published Monday, August 20
, 2018 -  Sixth news page

Common sense

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So, there I was out in the greenhouse with my handy-dandy sprayer. Every morning I go out and spray the orchid roots with a very light (really light) dose of fertilizer. Why? I figure that every time it rains (daily around here) the rain carries a few molecules of -------- something good down to the plants. Maybe even bits of silica from the Sahara. As the rain trickles (OK, pours) down the trunk, it picks up all kinds of material that is helpful for plants so I try to give my plants the same benefit. They seem to like it.

But that’s not the reason for this column.

Being out there in the greenhouse, looking at all these plants (not just orchids) I started to ponder the laws about collecting plants from the wild. In fact, I have a handbook out on Kindle called “Orchid Collecting in the Wild” that talks about the national and international laws. It’s something that requires some thought and not just about laws but about common sense.

Scene I: An ICE truck comes along and cuts branches and even trees that are in the way of power lines. The truck is followed by a chipper truck and in go the branches – with the orchids and bromeliads still attached. Does this make good sense?

Scene II (very important as we enter hurricane season): We had a huge number of trees downed by Otto and Nate, some of them in remote places. Trees fell into rivers clogging them and causing flooding. Who know what things were lost, what rare plants are just gone.

So, as MINAE (environmental protection) ponders the question of collecting plants from dead trees, I would like them to ponder with common sense. How about setting up an agro-station? Collectors could pay a fee and be licensed (for a day or a week) to remove orchids and bromeliads after a storm. All licensees would take their collections back to the agro-station for review.


 
If the licensee had multiples of the same plant, one would be left with the officials at the station. If the licensee had found a rare or endangered plant, his fee would be refunded and the orchid sent for preservation. If he had multiples of the rare plant, he would be allowed to keep one for propagation.

I think this is using common sense. MINAE would profit from the licensing fee. Plant enthusiasts would be able to purchase orchids and bromeliads from a licensed collector. The collector, who might be someone who lost his job or his home due to the storm, would have an income, and orchid and bromeliad species would be preserved for future generations to enjoy.


It’s worth thinking about.

Plant for the Week

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Victoria Torley photo     

There is nowhere that we can go on our property without running into a plant that is new to us. I stepped on one of these – don’t you hate when that happens – and brought this one in. About 8 to 9 inches high, shade loving, and lovely white flowers. If you know what it is, send me an email.

Editor's note: Victoria Torley, gardener columnist,
can be reached at victoriatorley1@gmail.com

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

House - Apartments For Rent
(paid category)



Furnished House Inside Gated Property
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Beautiful house, surrounded by a wonderful nature. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath on private property close to town. $650.00 Includes Electric, Internet, WiFi, Cable TV, water. In Santa Barbara de Heredia. American owner lives on site, quiet, secure.
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Code: 9386-072918

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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part
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Real Estate For Sale
(paid category)

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Jaco Oceanfront Furnished Condo
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Jaco Oceanfront Condo in excellent condition, completely furnished, with air conditioning, hot water, private parking, equipped gym, large pool and garden area, and 24 hour security.

Contains: large bedroom, bath with shower, living/dining area combined with kitchen, equipped with new refrigerator, TV, furniture and cooking equipment. Granite table and counter tops. Continuous cross-current ocean breezes.

Located at the south end of Jaco on quiet extensive beach away from noise, traffic and city tourism.

Monthly maintenance of $221 includes water, security, cable/internet and pool and garden maintenance. Asking price: $145,000.

Contact numbers: (506) 8820-9768 or (506) 2240-2240.

Code: 9380- 090118

Colinas Del Sol
Fenced Gated
Parcels

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Fenced Gated Parcels for Sale
* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project in a quiet area. * There are 88 clear titled parcels. * Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees. * Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds. * All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each. * Parcels are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $50,000 USD * Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica. * 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport * 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches * 10 minutes to Medical Facilities * 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital * 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club.
Contact:
In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray: jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or USA call +517-484-3675
For more information: www.colinasdelsolcr.com

Code: 9342-090318




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Vista Verde Del Mar
(Green View of the Sea)

* 4.4 hectares / 10.91 acres.
* All roads on property are complete on solid, original ground...
no "fill" areas.
* Four private 2+ acre parcels available within a ten acre property.
* 12 minutes to the Quepos airport or Quepos Hospital.
* 17 minutes to the new Marina Pez Vela in Quepos.
* Unsurpassed 360 degree vistas of ocean and mountains.
* All legal work to convey clean / clear / legal title is complete.
* NO PRE-SALE glitches, ready to build on !
* Price to sell $299,000 Brokers Protected.

Contact:
Mike Michael email: mikemichael@bellsouth.net
U.S.A. phone: 770-310-1351
More information Click Here
Code: 9350-050419



Costa Rica's first Realtor specialized in Eco Properties, Eco Consulting, Green Living and Hotel Real Estate & Hotel Consulting. Own farm with sustainable development project under planning.





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Green NAR designee, member of the CCBR, CRGAR
Code:9368-112118


Business For Sale
(paid category)
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Versatile 2 Floors Building
in La Sabana


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Completely remodeled building. 14 areas for residence and/or offices, call center, upscale storage. Transportation within 50 meters, commuter train, buses and taxis. In La Sabana, San Jose. School, park, gymnasium, tennis club and National soccer stadium walking distance. 24-hour security, many restaurants, clubs and social facilities nearby. Approximately 323 meter construction. Asking $295,000.
Contact Jim Holley
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Local CR phone: (506) 8912-5651
Code:9333-072318

Three Cabins in La Fortuna
San Carlos


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In La Fortuna San Carlos. Price $145,000 USD
Three cabins for sale fully furnished with AC, hot water, micro waves, refrigerators, flat screen TV. three years old.Lot is 22 meters by 49 meters. fenced and gated with private drive.Fish and shrimp pond on property with several tropical plants as well as several fruit trees.Room for more new construction house or cabins. This property is in the country but close to Fortuna central.Cabins advertised on AirBnB. Good income property.

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Email:
lagringo2003@yahoo.com
Code:9344-081518


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Published  Monday, August 20, 2018 -  Seventh news page

Public call to avoid scammers

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministry of Finance called upon the public to be alert to possible phone scams in a recent statement.

Scammers, posing as executives of the ministry, use the pretext of helping the “client” implement the new electronic invoice system, while they try to steal the victim’s banking information.

According to the ministry's report, the scams have been in the Pérez Zeledón community.

The calls have been made from the telephone number 4100-5200 or a private number that cannot be detected in the Caller ID.

The fraudster identifies himself using the name of Carlos Guillén and pretends to be representative of the ministry.

He offers help installing the new system of electronic invoices. It is then when the scammer asks for the bank information, number of bank accounts and key words of the accounts.

The ministry warns the public that the system of electronic invoices should be downloaded from the official website of the ministry and that users should follow up the steps provided on the web in order to set the new program.

No executive is making calls to the public on this matter or any other, the ministry said.


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A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo      

The fraudster identifies himself using the name of Carlos Guillén and pretends to be representative of the ministry.


The Judicial Investigation Organization, for its part, warned people to report to them immediately if they receive a call similar to that reported by the ministry, or  if they receive any other call from a person asking for the bank account number or security codes.