Only Full-Time American owned and operated Private Investigation Agency in Costa Rica Staffed​ ​​​by Resident American Fraud and Infidelity Bilingual Investigators.

Cheating is Alive and Well in Costa Rica

Recently, I have noted an increase in cases involving cheating spouses in Costa Rica. During the past year, the demand for surveillance of cheating spouses has risen dramatically.

The increase has been so dramatic that our agency has had to increase staff to keep pace with the demand. Why this is occurring is a puzzle. According to available research on the subject defining the reason, or, what force is behind the increase, is not readily apparent. Most of the research indicates that this increase during economic hard times is contrary to available data and recent polls suggesting, most people cannot afford exposure to a divorce.

Perhaps one reason is due to the increased pressure that economic hard times bring to the family environment. Alternatively, the increase could be related to the egregious spouse wanting to escape the pressures associated with making ends meet. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with many natural resources that bring visitors from all over the world. Costa Rica is world renown for its beautiful beaches and rainforest. It is also known as a fishing destination for the avid fishermen, especially from the United States. Many of the cases now being investigated begin with the story that the errant spouse is going to Costa Rica to fish.

This “cover story”, in a sense that is true. But the type of fishing being done is not in the ocean. It is in the numerous locations that have young, beautiful and exotic women who work in the sex trade. The bait being used is approximately six inches long, green and is called United States currency.

The most prevalent areas of the United States that experience the highest rate of cheating spouses coming to Costa Rica come from the larger metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami. Over the past six months, the majority of infidelity cases have come greater from Atlanta area. The cases range from a weekend spree to secreting money to the prostitutes and starting new families complete with children.

In those cases where the cheating spouse has bought real estate in Costa Rica, without the knowledge or consent of the stateside wife, she can attach all assets here in Costa Rica without first obtaining a divorce in the United States. Costa Rica has very unique laws concerning such real estate purchases.

Our office here in San Jose is fully staffed and I have a partner who is a licensed Costa Rican Attorney. This is absolutely necessary here in order to recover assets that have been acquired surreptitiously and provide the innocent spouse with equitable relief from the Costa Rican Courts. Although I have a law degree, I do not practice law in Costa Rica and advise that anyone needing a detailed explanation of the laws here contact someone like my partner, Roberto Romero Mora and have the law explained in detail.

Often I am asked, when should a suspicious spouse seek my services. The mere fact he is coming to Costa Rica with buddies is sufficient to warrant a surveillance. If nothing happens then the spouse in the United States can have peace of mind and an increased level in confidence in her spouse.

Surveillance Expectations versus Reality

When it comes to surveillance expectations versus reality it is usually in the eye of the beholder as to the degree of success a private investigator will enjoy.

Surveillance is not a science it is an art. By and large, the success of a surveillance depends on the observer. And perhaps even greater by the environment surrounding the surveillance. Many who call to have a surveillance conducted have never done so before. With that comes a variety of questions and assumptions about the surveillance process. Thus, surveillance expectations should be tempered with reasonable goals. Getting video of infidelity in a bedroom will not happen,

Expectations

It has been my experience that the decision to watch someone comes quickly. Usually when something happens in a relationship that triggers a suspicion or furthers a previous suspicion. Professionals know that last minute surveillances are a challenge as there is little or no time to plan and prepare.  Planning a surveillance well in advance of the actual operation is always best. This allows the investigator to take tactical advantage of the circumstances that the case presents. This is particularly true in Costa Rica as the distance the team must travel in order to arrive at the surveillance destination is sometimes between four to six hours.

Reality

For example, many of the resorts in Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador have a gated and guarded entrance. Accessing these as a non-guest is very difficult. If the target of a surveillance has given information about the location they will be staying sufficiently in advance of arrival, it allows the investigator and his team to make reservations at the same location and allows for surveillance that will be very successful. It also permits for the surveillance team to access the resort at will thus making the chances of success much greater.

A professional will have a  surveillance team. Organizing and placing agents in locations that give the best vantage is essential to a successful surveillance. So-called investigators that try and do this alone are doomed to failure. Today,   awareness of what is going on in the immediate area and seeing the same face too often will alert a target of being watched.

Mistakes Expats Make in Costa Rica

Here’s a list of Mistakes Expats Make in Costa Rica

law-firm-page-for-webThe law is can be preventive medicine, but if not used correctly, it is a devastating curative medicine.  So, please let me try and help you avoid mistakes made by those who came to Costa Rica before you, and try and keep you out ‘hot water.’

1. Do not do anything you would not do in your own home town: A lot of foreigners seem to believe they can outsmart the system when they come to a less developed country. Or, it just may be the kind way most Costa Ricans behave with ‘gringos’, which turn them into wishful thinkers.

Always bear in mind that the legal system in Costa Rica is Napoleonic, not Common Law, so things are handled very differently than in the US or Canada. Because of that, the best place to begin your investment plan is in an attorney’s office.

It is best not to try the Do it yourself’ method! Some people, in trying to save some dollars in legal fees, avoid the work of finding a good attorney to guide them through their problems. Do not do that! Do your homework. Find an attorney, you feel comfortable with and stay with him for as long as he does a good work.

2. Do not rush into the decision of hiring an attorney. If you are thinking of investing in Costa Rica, like it or not, hiring a local attorney is a must for you. It does not matter if you are just buying a car, a home or planning to set up a million dollar business. You will need an attorney. You may not like the idea of paying legal fees, who does? But accept it and live with it. The idea is to have your lawyer working for you as ‘preventive medicine’, as a kind of insurance against what ‘might happen.’

Consider the legal fees as your insurance premium, because that’s really what it is. Today, you will pay a fraction of what it will probably cost to try and fix that problem later on if you do not have an honest attorney to guide you.

3. Do not think of buying Costa Rica real estate and only follow the real estate broker’s advice! In Costa Rica, real estate brokers are not licensed in the same way they are in the United States . Some of them are real professionals, but a lot of them are just ‘enthusiastic’ sales people.

Either buying or selling real estate, you will probably have a need for a broker’s services, but even if your Costa Rica real estate agent is first class, have your attorney on board and have him supervise the process.

Real Estate Fraud 24. Do not blindly trust your own countrymen! Just because they have been here more time than you have. I have seen that US citizens being conned by US people and, Canadians by Canadians and so forth. Be careful! There are a whole lot of strange people in this country, some of them fleeing from the FBI, Interpol, ex-wives and even from mental institutions.

5. Gentlemen! Please remember that you do not, I repeat, do NOT need to marry the first beautiful ‘Tica’ (Costa Rican woman) that you meet!

6. “Old Mac Donald had a farm“: And he lost it, because never took care of it. This is a common story in Costa Rica. Again, please remember that our legal system is different.

7. South of the Border…  Not everybody here wears a big Mexican ‘sombrero’ and has a big bushy moustache and not all the ladies are named “Juanita Bonita’. South of the Río Grande,  you will find: México, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá, Colombia, Perú, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. All of them are different countries, with a different history, different people, and different laws.

8. “Easy comes easy goes.” I will not even waste your time on this matter. If it sounds too good to be true, then yes! It probably is too good to be true. Nobody on this earth can give you 45% per annum in a legitimate investment.

9. There is ‘risk’ even with legitimate well known and established private banks. Right now I am trying to help a client who deposited a large amount of money in CDs, in one local bank.

10. If you really want to live in Costa Rica then, please live IN Costa Rica! It was the year 335 B.C. Alexander the Great faced one of his greatest battles. When his army reached the Phoenician coasts, he realized their enemies outnumbered them by 3 to 1.

Do you know how he managed to win the battle? Quite simple! He ordered his ships to be burnt… While the ships where on fire and sinking on the ocean, he spoke to his army and told them the only way to go back home was on their enemy’s ships. It was that or else.

If you really want to become a resident in Costa Rica, you may have to burn your ships.