Costa Rica News – When purchasing real estate in Costa Rica there are a lot of scams that have been based in the land of “Pura Vida” over the years. Many times these scams are based around notaries and lawyers knowing how to use the legal system & documents to transfer ownership to friends and family members under the nose of the buyer. Unless you are watching the sale very carefully money can be “legally” taken from your pockets when you put that pen to the paper.
A family farm valued at $100,000 in Guanacaste was purchased for ¢10.000 (about $20) in 2012, through a notary public. If this seems too good to be true, it is, and the details are only recently being brought to light. This almost 6,000 square foot lot was supposedly sold and signed by two foreigners by the last name of Brink, however they were not alive at the time of the sale.
Mr. Brink died at age 79 on October 28th, 1993 and his wife died on January 18th, 1998 at age 83. This was more than 15 years before Gabriela Alejandre Saenz, a notary public, and a buyer with the last name Quiros supposedly sat down with them and signed papers for Ms. Quiros to purchase the land.
The Brink’s children brought the case to court and sued both the notary public and the buyer for falsity. According to the plaintiffs, the Brink couple acquired the land between 1983 and 1986. Upon requesting the land as being inherited to them last year, the two children of the Brink couple realized that the land was no longer in their parents’ possession.
Alejandre’s notary public license was suspended and has various accounts of accused fraud against her. When asked for copies of the sellers’ residency cards, these were not provided and the case is currently awaiting trial.
It is recommended to always use your own lawyer and have them do their own due diligence on the property or project in which you are thinking about purchasing.
Unfortunately, there are “legal” scams occurring even today with lawyers and notaries using their power and knowledge of the system in order to use loopholes to scam investors and buyers out of their purchases.