What is going on in Costa Rica?

You owe it to yourself and your peace of mind to learn why your loved one is in Costa Rica and what is going on in Costa Rica, You also need to know what they are up to. Especially places like Jaco. Jaco has several “watering holes” which are packed nightly with young, beautiful and available women. These women do not match the stereotyped images of hookers in the U.S. They are well dressed, clean, polite and very entertaining.

Most of these women range in age from 18 to 35. They are aggressively friendly and will engage a man as soon as he sits at the bar.

Getting Things Done in Costa Rica

Many of my clients often ask, why is getting things done in Costa Rica so difficult? I could really be negative here with a response, however, understanding the problem is a better alternative. During this discussion keep in mind that Costa Rica is a third world country. That is difficult to understand when you see a Starbucks or a PF Chang’s. But it is true , Costa Rica is a third world country with its biggest employer being the government itself. That within itself is a big reason that getting things done is Costa Rica is so slow.

What makes getting things done in Costa Rica so difficult?

It only takes a few minutes to see Costa Rica’s problem by traveling on its roads. A trip from the airport to downtown can take up to hour or more. It is obvious that Costa Rica has lost control of its roadways and does not have the infrastructure to correct the traffic problem they have.

The reason I chose the road as a sedge way into this discussion is that it is a prime example of the problem this country faces in getting things done. This same inability to get control of the road permeates the entire government here. The simplest of task can take an extraordinary amount of time to complete.

Example of getting things done in Costa Rica

Let me give you an example, you want to find the owner of a piece of property. In the states, it a relatively easy task as one goes to the property a[[raiser or the county tax office and within 10 minutes you have all the information you need. Here, you have to go to the National Registry of Costa Rica and make a request. You do this by taking a number and wait for the clerk to call your number. Once they call your number, they will check and see if they have the record requested. If they do have the requested record, they will direct you to the Bank of Costa Rica, where you will take another number and wait to be called to pay the fee to get the record.

With the bank receipt in hand you return to the Registry at which point you take another number and wait to be called. Once called they will give you the requested record. This process can take anywhere from four to eight hours.If the record is archived, it can take up to two weeks to get the information requested.

Once the property has been identified, determining the owner is the next obstacle that has to be overcome. If the property is owned by anyone other than A Costa Rica National, it will be in the form of a S.A. (Sociedad Anonomia) which is liken to a Nevada Corporation in the States, where the individual owner is not listed. For years, the Cossta Rica Government has required this as a vehicle to purchase real property. Thereby promoting and fostering all manner of corrupt activities.

If you want something done and done as quickly as possible, you need to retain professionals who are here and know the system and how it works. Even with such help it can take time as nothing seems to move here with speed, everything is, manana . If you choose to do it your self, remember that getting things done in Costa Rica is time consuming and slow. It will try your patience and your wallet.

Hiring a Costa Rica Private Investigator

Before hiring a Costa Rica private investigator

Hiring a Costa Rica private investigator does not have to be a stressful or difficult process.  Before hiring a Costa Rica private investigator, use these simple steps as a guideline for locating the right Costa Rica private investigator for your case. Today, it is easy to be misled, especially since the proliferation of third-party lead generators. These lead generators are not present in Costa Rica and do not disclose the consequences of using people that cannot meet your needs. This is especially true in the event your case goes to trial.

Licensing

There is no national licensing system for private investigators in Costa Rica. No one in Costa Rica has a license to do investigations.  Unlike the United States where PI licensing is regulated on the state level. If the actual investigator does not possess a license issued by a state, then that tells you that this person is unqualified to do investigative work.

Currently, the only states that do not require private investigators to be licensed are: Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota, & Wyoming

Always contact the appropriate state licensing agency to confirm an investigator’s license is current and in good standing prior to hiring them.

PI Firms vs. Individuals

One key choice in hiring a Costa Rica Private Investigator is whether to hire an individual or an investigative firm. Firms typically employ greater resources and are ideal for cases requiring large amounts of surveillance and manpower. Individual PI’s can often provide a wealth of knowledge with issues including the location of persons, background investigations, asset investigations etc.

Be sure to choose an investigator or firm that employs the necessary resources and prior experience to properly address your needs.

Hiring a Private Investigator

It is important to feel comfortable with the PI you choose as matters that require private investigation cases are often of a sensitive nature. Look for individuals who are able to think “outside of the box” and adapt to changing situations easily. Inquire as to signing a contract or agreement listing the private investigator’s services, fees, and terms. Make sure this agreement comes from the person or firm who is physically present in Costa Rica and is actually doing the investigation. This protects both parties.

Be sure to ask a potential investigator as many questions as possible. If your not comfortable with their answers, demeanor, or experience you should find another private investigator with who you are.

Questions to Ask Your Investigator

How long have you been in business?

How many cases of this nature have you handled?

What is your success rate with cases of this nature?

What are your rates and fees?

Do you have experience testifying in court?

Do you take video of surveillance operations?

Can you perform covert surveillance as needed?

Can you provide a reference of an attorney you’ve worked for in the past?

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.

Information-Costa Rica Private Investigator Needs

What Information a Costa Rica Investigator Needs

information logo 1In order for a Costa Rica private investigator to find a missing person you will need to provide them with as much information as possible. It would be helpful if you could provide the private investigator with name, date of birth, Costa Rica Cedula number, age, last address known or anything else that you might consider helpful. However, if all you can provide is a name, a professional Costa Rica private investigator can still find the person you are looking for, even if they have remarried. Just keep in mind that the less information you have, the longer it might take for the private investigator to find the person you are looking for. It is also much harder for the private investigator to find someone if they are running from the law. Although, no matter what the circumstances the private investigator should exhaust all resources in order to find who they are looking for. Some tips; if your target lives in Costa Rica, they will have two last names. (i.e. Gonzalez- Bedoa)  This is very important as this will reduce the amount of time to locate them and/or get information on their whereabouts. If it is an American you seek the passport will also save time and money.

 

How do they find the person I am looking for?

Time logo 1A reliable, trustworthy Costa Rica professional private investigator has a number of different resources that the “ordinary person” does not have.. Private investigators have access to the most modern technology and databases that will help provide the information they are looking for. Some of these databases can only be used by private investigators, so the “ordinary person” would never have access to this information. They also have easier access to the large amounts of public records and information that is out there. Plus, last but not least, the skills they have acquired over the years as a private investigator gives them a great advantage over someone who doesn’t have the professional experience.

How long will it take?

Cheater photo 3How long it takes really depends on the person the private investigator is trying to find. A private investigator’s vast resources and professional experience can sometimes allow them to find someone in 24 hours or less! However, this greatly depends on how willing the person is to be found. If the private investigator is looking for an old friend, long lost love or a family member it should be a lot easier than looking for someone who is running from the law. It also depends on how much information you are able to give the private investigator.

Why should I hire a private investigator?

For an affordable and  reasonable amount a professional Costa Rica private investigator can find the person you are looking for. They have the skills, resources and time to get the job done in a timely fashion. In fact a private investigator can often find someone you have been looking for, for years in a matter of hours or days. Why spend countless days or even years trying to find someone when you can make a quick phone call and have a professional, Costa Rica private investigator devoted to the job? It just makes sense to use a private investigator that is in Costa Rica..

 

Surveillance in Costa Rica

How Does Surveillance in Costa Rica Work?

The most important stage of the surveillance in Costa Rica is getting to know the “subject” or as it is in many instances the suspected cheater. Information that would be necessary such as knowing what the cheating husband, cheating boyfriend, cheating wife, cheating girlfriend likes, dislikes, habits, type of food preferred, favorite restaurants frequented, employment information, hobbies, vehicles driven, possible person he/she might be cheating with, and a description of all parties. Provide information on everything if you suspect your spouse/partner of cheating as, the more you provide upfront, the better the chance for success. Leaving out a detail or two can have a dramatic effect on outcome of the surveillance.

Costa Rica Private InvestigatorOnce obtained and reviewed “a feel” for the subject and knowing his/her habits, the fieldwork, or surveillance, begins. While some private investigators hold themselves out to be surveillance experts, you know your spouse/partner better than they do and, the more information that you can provide them, the better chance for success in the field.

As the surveillance progresses, most clients want regular reports or communication regarding what we are finding in the field. Communication with clients on a continuing basis is an indispensable part of a professional surveillance strategy. While some prefer not to receive a report until the conclusion of the infidelity investigation and surveillance, it is generally recommended to have regular communications to discuss service and to implement changes when necessary. Most professional private investigators will determine the best method of communicating and frequency based on the circumstances of the surveillance.

Surveillance in Costa Rica

Ceating HusbandWith most private investigators it is common knowledge that the cheater is, generally, aware that someone may be watching or following him/her. Usually, this makes people become more aware of their surroundings while cheating. At times both the subject and the person who he/she is cheating with are both cheating, making it even more difficult to follow them without being seen. Circumstances like these can make it more practical to use a second investigator. While this will increase the cost, using two investigators on surveillance diminishes the chance of being burnt during the surveillance or losing the subject in traffic. Most successful surveillance operations involve a two or more person team. This especially true in Costa Rica.

There are times when infidelity, or cheating, is just not taking place even though you have seen signs to the contrary. There are also times when the cheating is far too infrequent with no established patterns, or so well hidden, that catching the cheater is not possible using normal investigative techniques.

Confidentiality and Discretion

All surveillance investigations should be completely confidential and private. Your identity, along with all information that we obtain on your behalf, should be maintained in the strictest of confidence. Information that obtained as a result of the surveillance should only be provided to you or your attorney.

Cheater photo 3If you have a surveillance that needs to be conducted in Costa Rica, be sure you vet the Investigator you contact. There are only a few here and caution should be exercised, particularly with people that want you to send money via Western Union. Caution should also be exercised with people who have only been here for the past year or so. Some boast of their background, but few can back it up. Be especially cautious of people who hold themselves out as consultants. The ones I know are retirees and have no real practical experience in private investigation. Just because they worked for the government doesn’t make them a good or reliable private investigator.

Hiring a Costa Rica Private Investigator

Hiring a Costa Rica private investigator

Costa Rica Private InvestigatorHiring a Costa Rica private investigator requires a thorough vetting before engaging for services. Recently, I have had several people who have written me about their bad experiences with investigations that were conducted by investigators not living in Costa Rica. I have written several blog posts as well as Facebook post advising potential clients to avoid investigators that do not live here. If retention of out of country investigator is your only option, beware, that’s what you get may cause you more heartache, grief and expense and more than likely you will not have the answers you seek.

Things to Check out before you do

information logo 1Here are a few questionable and unethical tactics employed by some investigators that have been reported to me. Scenario one; an inquiry is made into the requirements and costs of an investigation. After the initial communication, the investigator contacts you and says he has started the investigation and you owe money, although you never agreed to start the investigation. When you call this to the investigators’ attention he becomes combative and begins hurling insults and veiled threats.  Scenario two; after agreeing to have the investigator conduct an investigation, he contacts you and says that he has the information for you but you need to send more money. He says that the investigation took longer than expected and you must pay the money or he will not release the information to you. Scenario three; you learn that the investigator has contacted the target of your inquiry and has attempted to extort money from them.

The first scenario outlined is straight forward. A professional investigator will not start an investigation without receiving a retainer. He will also give you options on how to deposit the retainer via a bank or credit card company. He will not immediately demand that you send money via Western Union to a third party that you have never heard of before. If you have fallen victim to this scam, you don’t have to put up with it. If you have not sent any money, tell him to go pound sand. There is absolutely nothing he can do to you. If he threatens you simply hang up the phone. If he emails you keep, and archive the emails for future reference if the need arises. Consider yourself lucky that you escaped this unprofessional and unethical person and seek out a professional.

Money LaunderingThe second scenario is also straight forward. No professional investigator is going to conduct an investigation beyond the original agreement without first obtaining authorization from the client. Furthermore, all information developed to that point in time is your property not the investigators. Professional and ethical investigators know when an investigation is going to require more and will always contact the client before proceeding. After all, it is your money and your life could be irrevocably changed forever depending on the outcome. This type of situation is nothing more than an attempt to shake down the client for money. If he can’t demonstrate through convincing reason the need to proceed, then you should demand that he cease all further inquiries into the matter.

Perhaps the most disturbing and disgusting tactic is the playing both ends against each other.  In this case the investigator knows the target of the investigation and the circumstances surrounding the inquiry. Once they get the money from you they approach the target and tell them they have information that is vital. Information that could change the rest of their life and that for a fee they will give them the information. Imagine trusting a stranger with delicate and sensitive information and having that trust betrayed by such an unprofessional and unethical investigator.

In all of these scenarios the one common denominator is, they were all done by the same sleazy, slimy person that takes advantage of people’s desperation in getting answers to questions that will affect their lives forever. What’s more, it repeats itself from the same source with the same outcomes. These are just three instances I know factually, as I was retained after the fact to clean up the mess that was created by such unprofessional and unethical tactics.

 

Real Estate Fraud Plagues Costa Rica

Costa Rica Real Estate Fraud

Fraud Real EstateReal Estate fraud plagues Costa Rica with the announcement that police arrested four persons in connection with a $50 million dollar Real Estate fraud. According to numerous news sources the four arrested are lawyers and notaries. In Costa Rica all notaries have to be licensed attorneys. The paperwork that routinely passes through National Registry must be notarized. Since most land purchases are purchased in a Costa Rica Corporation. Generally, attorneys are given power of attorneys over the transactions. In contrast to the United States, a notary cannot notarize a negotiable instrument or conveyance to which he is a party. Here that is not the case. With that kind of power, it is easy and tempting to do something less than honest or correct. In this particular case according to the news source, the victim is an elderly German woman who appears to have lost ownership of her properties in southern Costa Rica due to inappropriate paperwork. Although the accused have yet to be identified the police are saying that have arrested a 61-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man in Alajuelita.

Also arrested were a 37-year-old woman in Cartago and a 60-year-old man in Coronado. According to police documents the crimes allegedly happened between 2010 and 2012.

Real Estate Fraud 2The two persons arrested in Alajuelita are also notaries but are not active now. The pair is charged with improperly administering the woman’s property in Punta Uva and Bahía Ballena, which is located in the southwestern area of the country. According to police documents, both had access to $5 million in cash.
The suspects that were arrested lived in Cartago and Coronado and are active notaries. Police said that they assisted in the creation of 19 corporations that play a role in the fraud. Police alleged that the suspects tricked the elderly woman into signing papers so that she lost the properties.
Agents also reported that when they searched the offices of the suspects they found two unregistered pistols.

Breaking news on Barbara Sturncova

Breaking news on Barbara Sturncova

Missing Person BarbaraBarbara Sturrncova who went missing five years ago is in the news again. Apparently her male companion, William Ulner, was arrested today while attempting to board an airplane with his new bride by the FBI. He was arrested for using a fraudulent passport.  In the past, there has been much speculation about Ulner and the role he played in Sturncova’s disappearance. No one has seen or hear from Sturncova since her disappearance and none of her bank cards have been used.

We wrote a cold case article about her and others that have mysteriously  vanished into thin air never to be seen or heard from again. Fox 31 in Denver is reporting the story. There have been several people who have tried unsuccessfully to find Sturncova but have run into dead ends.

The information we have received is that Ulner recently married and was at the airport leaving for his honeymoon when the FBI nabbed him. Information on his new wife and other information concerning his arrest has not been disclosed.

Someone is Missing in Costa Rica

If someone is missing in Costa Rica, do not waste any time initiating an investigation. The longer you delay, the greater the chances that they may never be found.

Missing personI have had several calls to investigate the disappearance of people who were visiting Costa Rica and all of them have failed to find the missing person. The main reason for this was the lack of effort from the earliest known moment that the person went missing. Unlike the United States where there are all kinds of alerts for missing or endangered people, Costa Rica has no viable system in place to alert people of the missing person.

Why it is Important to Report someone missing in Costa Rica Immediately

Almost everyone here is busy scratching out a living and really do not have time to stop what they are doing to volunteer for a search. Such was the case recently when a woman came up missing in Guanacaste under suspicious circumstances. We were not retained until three weeks after the initial disappearance.

Having prior law enforcement experience I know the value of early response to a reported missing person. Because of earlier response time to such reports many of the missing were located. The others who were found to be the victims of a crime, the earlier response assisted in bringing those responsible to justice to answer for their deeds.

In Costa Rica the law enforcement is understaffed and under resourced. They lack the adequate resources and equipment to undertake a search for a missing person. Much of Costa Rica is endowed with lush tropical forest and jungles that lure many inexperienced and novice hikers to explore their beauty. Unaware of the lack of communication once in these areas and being poorly equipped, many of the best hikers get lost.

 

Dangers in the jungles range from Jaguars to over thirty nine species of poisonous snakes, not to mention crocodiles and scorpions. Medical response and medical facilities are spread out and it could take hours in some instance to get to a medical facility. Once there of course, there is a concern that they will have the necessary equipment and staff to treat the injury.

Thus the need to report a missing person and contact someone here in Costa Rica to start looking for that person will play a vital part in finding and returning the missing person.