Published Monday, July 6, 2020

Jailed men suspected of property
registration fraud, obtaining more
than $60,000

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents from the Judicial Investigation Organization, OIJ, of the station in Puriscal District arrested two men on Friday on suspicion of the crime of Property Registry Fraud.

According to the Costa Rica Crimes Law, or Codigo Penal, the Property Registry Fraud, known as a fraudulent transfer of property, is a crime of stealing property, usually a land, from its true owner by means of false transfers of property registered in the National Registry.

These crimes generally occur when criminals falsify the signature of the true owner; they pretend to be the genuine owner of a property in order to rob the true owner of their assets.

According to the agents' report, the arrested men are surnamed Castro- Vargas, 51, and Muñoz- Arias, 47.

Both men are linked to two cases of property fraud, one happened in April and the other in May, both this year, agents said.

According to the case, it is alleged that Castro-Vargas, through the use of fake identification documents, posed as the owner of two properties. With the fake ID, the suspect requested a lawyer for a mortgage on these properties and to obtain cash.

After the lawyer managed to process the mortgage, it is alleged that the suspect obtained $25,800 in April, plus $34,500 in May.

According to the agents' report, when the real owners of the properties realized their lands were mortgaged, they contacted the lawyer who processed the due diligence at the National Registry.They also initiated a respective complaint at the OIJ.

The agents reported that, according to the investigations, it is alleged that Castro-Vargas was the one who requested the mortgage process from the lawyer, while the second suspect Muñoz-Arias was the one who allegedly took the money obtained in the two mortgages.

Castro-Vargas was detained at his home located in Pozos de Santa Ana district, while Muñoz-Arias was detained at his home in the Escazú district.

Raids on both suspect's houses resulted in agents seizing documents considered to be important evidence for the investigation.

The two suspects were taken to the cells of the Public Ministry where they were interrogated by the judicial agents and after that, they must wait until a judge orders the pre-trial measures against them.

What cases have you heard of Property Registry Fraud in your community? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to