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US Tax Evasion and Raids at Hotel Cocal and Casino in Jaco, Costa Rica

(Official Criminal Complaint Enclosed) Well it looks like another business is about to become under extreme scrutiny by the US government. Also is the fact that it has been recently raided by authorities to prevent it from being a brothel as well as a place that owners are presenting as a family hotel.  I do not know about you but I would not want to take my wife and kids to a place where there are prostitutes hanging out both around the pool and exiting rooms of clients. 

After a recent interview with the chief of police in Jaco, it was discovered that the Hotel Cocal and Casino would be subject to raids on a regular basis.  As a person that used to visit Costa Rica for much of the year, having police in heavy armor and assault rifles coming in to ask me for my passport and not letting people leave until they checked everyone is not how I want to potentially spend an evening. I would rather go to The Beatle Bar to pick up a woman than this place.

A Michigan couple is out on bond after the federal government claims that they purposely hid profits of millions in foreign investments from tax officials, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

James Stanley Gray, 80, and Karen Amerling-Gray, 67, are accused of purposely failing to claim their foreign bank accounts that were funded by profits from the millions the couple invested in Costa Rican property on their federal tax returns.

According to the complaint, which was unsealed July 10 in Flint federal district court, the couple has an ownership interest in two condominiums and Gray owns and operates Hotel Cocal and Casino, all of which are in Costa Rica.

Gray explained in an email he sent to a federal informant that he does not report capital gains taxes on his condominium activities in the United States, according to the complaint.

“In the U.S. you have capital gains and would have to pay tax in Costa Rica no capital gains,” Gray wrote in the email. “So you keep what you make. I do not bring it back to the U.S. I just keep investing in Costa Rica.”

A revolving credit application uncovered by the government during its investigation shows that the condominium assets owned by the couple are valued at $5.68 million and the hotel and casino is valued at $2.86 million.

During a face-to-face meeting with Gray in May 2011, an undercover federal agent posing as an investor asked Gray how to report property owned outside of the United States on a federal tax return.

“You don’t,” Gray told the agent according to the complaint.

Gray allegedly told the agent that he began moving his bank accounts from Panama to Costa Rica after the U.S. signed a treaty with Panama making tax information for U.S. citizens with more than $10,000 in Panamanian bank accounts available to the federal government.

According to the complaint, Gray told the agent that he would then place all the profits from the condominiums into the foreign accounts and use a bank-issued debit card so the money wouldn’t have to be moved through the U.S.

On June 19, a search warrant was executed at the couple’s Flushing home. The government seized bank records, business records and copies of emails that show the couple’s foreign properties and financial accounts, according to court records.

Three firearms were also seized from the residence. The complaint alleges Gray was in violation of federal law for possessing the firearms because he is a convicted felon.

Gray was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in federal court in 1986, according to the complaint.

Amerling-Gray was released on a $100,000 unsecured bond, while Gray was released on a $250,000 unsecured bond.
The couple does not currently have an attorney after their former attorney, Joseph Falcone, withdrew due to a conflict of interest.

A preliminary exam is scheduled for August 6.

Official Criminal Complaint

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13 Comments

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  11. Brendan king said:

    Wow they must be really competing with the Beatle Bar. Why do I care what taxes they are paying or not paying to to the US. This is clearly an attempt to harass them because they are offering a better option in Jaco. Oh and by the way anyone going to Jaco to take the wife and kids on a “Family Vacation ” is and idiot because everyone knows its not that type of destination. Ask any Cost Rican.

    • rob said:

      the rumor is that they may have to close down for a while because the US and CR banks are freezing their accounts and they will not be able to use their merchant accounts for credit cards etc.. i do not think it is harassment, just trying to let people know whats up… it would really suck if you had a reservation and they were closed and you couldn’t get back your cc deposit…the other rumor story is that the main owner cannot come back to CR while all this is going on – so it can affect the condos and his business…and he is facing jail time for not completing some tax form and some gun charge because he is an ex-con

  12. Pingback: Filing Your US Taxes in Costa Rica, How to Avoid Tax Evasion Penalties | The Costa Rican Times

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