Almost 1,200 false marriages between Ticos and foreigners have been found. Vulnerable Ticos, often single mothers, are offered money to marry strangers, foreigners who seek Costa Rican nationality.
Colombians and Cubans are the groups who most often enter these kind of agreements. There has been legal reform making this a crime, still many notaries are dedicated to signing off on these illicit marriages.
1,169 cases were brought before the Family Court to dissolve simulated marriages. Some come to be known because the Tico no longer wanted to be married to the stranger. Others go to get a certificate that they are single only to find out it appears they are married and never knew about it. Still others are flagged for analysis because of a large age gap between the foreigner and Tico.
Some simulated marriages are taken to great lengths to not be found out. In some cases, the foreigner pays for the Tico to take a trip abroad just to have photos together making the relationship look real.