Conducting Surveillance in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Private InvestigatorConducting surveillance in Costa Rica presents challenges not faced by private investigators in the United States. When a client calls and wants a surveillance here in Costa Rica I try to give them reasonable expectations on the results of such a surveillance. Unlike the United States where private investigators can have sufficient time to capture indiscretions, here we usually have less than a week. In some instances even less time.

Surveillance is being in the right place at the right time and to discreetly capture the indiscretion on video. That means that the target cannot know they are being watch or their activities are being recorded. Many of the venues in Costa Rica have ramped up security in the form of CCTV and guards. They are sensitive to videoing and will not hesitate to ask what you are doing. Thus not only does the PI need to be discreet with respect to the target, they must also be discreet and vigilant as to their surroundings.

For this reason we use teams of investigators usually comprised of two or three to carry out a surveillance. There are some PI’s that are on the web that use just one person that they subcontract the surveillance. I know of one PI that was deported from Costa Rica and is advertising services here and he can’t even enter the country. Thus it pays to vet the PI and make sure he has the experience and resources to carry out the surveillance.

Recently we had a surveillance in a resort that has extremely tight security. Many of the places that people rent are in private residences within the resort and are only accessible though a guarded gate. If you are not a guest you are denied entry. The resort is patrolled by security guards who check visitors and routinely ask them their purpose for being there. Fortunately the resort rents carts which don’t draw the attention of a roaming car. Use of the cart helps but if you remain stationary for any length of time a guard will approach you. This means that you have to be on the constant move.

Targets that are involved in an affair are sensitive to seeing the same person or car more than once. This requires that you change personnel frequently. Through diligence and perseverance usually enjoy success. Many of our clients think that capturing public displays of affection are common place. Here again targets do not perform on cue. You have to be in the right place at the right time to capture PDA’s. Investigators cannot manufacture or script such activities.

All in all if you have reasonable expectations you will not be disappointed in the results. If your expectations are those that are shown on TV programs such as “Cheaters” you will be disappointed in the results. Make sure you discuss expectations and results with you private investigator in order to make your surveillance successful.

Private Investigator Qualities

Private Investigator Qualities to Look For

UntitledPrivate Invcestigator Qualities you should look for before pulling the trigger. Private investigators have historically played a part of our childhood fascinations, thanks to the famous detective characters strewn across modern literature. From Sherlock Holmes to Erin Brockovich, the acute observation and the unparalleled wit of these famous private investigators makes the profession attractive to many. Always accompanied with a trusted and able assistant, detectives make use of just their intellectual abilities to nab the most unusual and crafty suspects. Among the many qualities that a detective should possess, here are some of the qualities of a good private investigator.

Knowledge: A real life detective gets a variety of assignments. They range from insurance frauds, extra marital affairs, theft reports, surveillance, and so on. Accordingly a private detective should possess an extensive amount of knowledge and experience that will help them to get the job done as quickly, smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Stealth:  A detective needs to be as inconspicuous as possible. They really cannot afford to demonstrate behavior or possess some characteristic that attracts unwanted attention. Especially in cases that require prolonged surveillance, detectives have to work in an incognito mode in order to gather as much information as possible.

Courage: This is a primary trait of private investigators. They should be really crafty and street smart. A little bit of hustling abilities are needed in order to get out of tight situations. As detectives do not really have any so called authoritative backing, they need their wit to get them out of sticky situations.

Trustworthiness: Their profession demands that clients disclose delicate information to them. Detectives need to understand and respect the importance and the trust the clients bestow by providing such information and they should not disclose it in any manner. The profession demands that client secrets be kept and any disclosure amounts to serious credibility issues, even inviting lawsuits.

Decision Making: This important trait rounds up the top quality of a private detective. The job sometimes creates situations which demand thinking on the feet and quick decision making abilities keeping the short term and long term objectives in mind. Stable conclusions based on observations that would help to resolve the case need to be taken confidently.

The qualities needed to be a detective are many. But these are some of the essential characteristics that are a must for a successful foray into this interesting profession.

 

Costa RIca Private Investigator Log

Costa Rica Private Investigator Log;  July 2019

The Costa Rica Private Investigator log for the month of July saw several cases that came to from all over the United States. Below is a few of the cases we handled in August.

Costa Rica Private Investigator log for July 3; Domestic case involving a suspected cheating husband who had booked a vacation with his “buddies” in Jaco. Told his wife that they were going to fish for Marlin. Wife suspicious as his trips to Costa Rica were becoming more frequent and she didn’t like some of his “buddies”. Surveillance began at the airport and wound up in Jaco at the Beatle Bar which has been recently remodeled and opened for business again. The group migrated to the Cochal, a favorite watering hole for partying and shopping for the weekend girl friend. Sure enough the target wasn’t at the Cochal for more than an hour when he latched onto a stunning professional working girl probably 25 years of age and he was off to the hotel. Whole thing captured on video.

Costa Rica Private Investigator log for July 5; Bigamy/domestic case where in an American man had married a Colombian woman in the States and was going through a nasty divorce. He knew she had spent time in Costa Rica and wanted her background checked. A due diligence check revealed that the Colombian was married to a Costa Rica National. She had been married to him for over eight years and was married to the Costa Rica National at the time she married the American.

Costa Rica Private Investigator log for July 9; Land Fraud case involving a fraud in the inducement from a developer that collected money from investors on a beach front condominium development in Coco (Northwest Costa Rica). Developer took money from investor after convincing investor that his money was going for an unimpeded ocean view from the 5th floor of a 10 floor condominium in Coco. Due diligence revealed that no such development had been approved on a one story model. In Costa Rica all developments must have licenses and be approved by the government. Investors money gone but we were able to get a lien on the property in order for the investor to recapture from his loss.

Costa Rica Private Investigator log for July 17; Lottery scam reported by an elderly woman in Florida. This lady is 87 years old and was contacted by someone purporting to be an agent with the United States Department of Consumer Affairs. (No such organization) The agent told her she had won 2nd prize in a lottery and that in order for her to collect her check of $987,000 she needed to send $5,000 to Jose Gonzalez via Western Union in Costa Rica to cover the cost and expenses in transferring the winnings to her. He gave her a telephone number with a 305 exchange and when she called it a person answered the phone “United States Department of Consumer Affairs, how may help you”. She asked for the agent was transferred to the same person who called her. He assured her this was a legit. She sent the $5,000 and anothe $87,000 over a three month period. This is a SCAM. If you win the lottery no one will ever call you! I referred this nice lady to the U.S. Postal service who has agents in the United States who are working with the Costa Rica authorities to bust these miserable and despicable scammers.

These are a few of the cases we handled for the month of July. If you or if you know someone who need private investigator services in Costa Rica call or visit us at www.codygear.com 

Are you having doubts about what you are being told? Do you have that gut feeling that something is not right?

Directories Offering PI Services in Costa Rica

Beware of Directories Offering PI Services in Costa Rica

CG logoThere are several directories offering PI services in Costa Rica. These are nothing more than clearing houses for a web entrepreneur to get a percentage by referring you case to one of their members. More than often the members of such directories have to do nothing to obtain the referral except joining the directory and paying a small subscription fee. The directories in turn do no or little due diligence and refer your case to someone they know nothing about. Recently I was curious and call one that is prominently displayed in the Google organic search and learned that it was a call center located in the western United States. When I inquired as to who was the PI in Costa Rica the CSR couldn’t tell me.

Directories offering PI Services in Costa Rica look professional and glitzy

Remember all that glitters is not gold. I have seen several of these sites and they all use the same format. They advertise professional investigators in all parts of the world. Think about that. The major PI firms in the world are Pinkertons, Wakenhut, and Wells Fargo. None of these prestigous firms pass their clients to anyone that is not thouroughlyvetted.

When you have a problem that needs the attention of a tried and trued professional private investigator, you are rolling the dice when you use a directory in the selection process. Most of the directories want to be the intermediator between you and the PI. The reason? They want their cut of the fees. They know that if you deal directly with the PI they will receive nothing. What do the directories bring to the table? Nothing but names and referrals of who they know nothing about.

When your problems are such that you need a reliable and professional PI, do you due diligence and vet the PI your self. What kind of experience, education and training doe the PI have to accomplish your objecties? Are those qualifications verifiable? Last year there was a PI in Costa Rica who advertised that he was a former federal agent, a former Navy Seal along with a myriad of other unverifiable puffery. He was apprehended by the Immigration Service of Costa Rica and was deported for being in Costa Rica illegally. He is now in Nicaragua offering PI services in Costa Rica, a country he is forbidden to enter. HE IS ALSO A MEMBER OF SEVERAL OF THESE DIRECTORIES!

If you need or want aprofessional and reliable private investigator contact us. We have verifiable qualifications and references. We are available 24/7 to serve you.

 

Costa Rica Safety

What About Costa Rica Safety?

Crime 1Concerns about Costa Rica safety are heightened among those thinking about relocating to Costa Rica. Recent murders of American citizens, Kurt Hergis in La Fortuna in February and Stephen Rutkiewicz in Guanacaste in December have served as an impetus for the rise in concern.Unbiased responses can be challenging since many who contribute information from the English speaking community have a vested interest in bringing in expats who are liquid and looking to invest in Costa Rica. Caution needs to be exercised and a doubtful thought process should be used when listening to real estate agents or relocation agents.

According to recent statistics Costa Rica (10 murders per 10,000) is less violent than its neighboring countries in Central America (28.5 murders per 10,000). This is in comparison to the United States which has a murder rate (4.7 per 10,000). In Canada the rate is even lower (1.6 per 10,000). The statistics have been compiled globally by the United Nations in 2012.

Costa Ricans have an unrealistic view of relative criminal activity as compared to the United States since the periodic mass shooting in the United States has the tendency to dominate world news. Physical violence in the United States for the most part is focused in urban city centers, such as Detroit (54.6 murders per 100,000) or Baltimore (34.9 murders per 100,000). Total rates for murder continue to be low in the United States since it is a nation of 313 million individuals.

Costa Rica, with 4.8 million people is by per capita more dangerous than the United States. Some say that much of the physical violence is a direct result of the drug trade that exist between South and Central America and the United States. For example, neighboring Honduras (91.6 murders per 10,000) and El Salvador (69.2 murders per 10,000) are the two most violent nations in the world. The Security    Ministry furthered this opinion by reporting that immigrants and others that are difficult to account for contribute significantly to the violence in Costa Rica.

Expats tend to notice the violence as it affects their own peer group or comes into their community. There is relatively small English language coverage of the shootings and murders that take place in southern San Jose or the Caribbean coast. Objectively, the drug related violence in these areas is the kind of thing that is not likely to affect a tourist or expat directly. However, violence has a tendency to eventually cross borders and social divisions. Thus violence in places like Limon will eventually impact everyone who lives here.

Contrasting Costa Rica Law

Contrasting Costa Rica Law to the Common Law of the United States

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The Common Law that law is based after in the United States is in agreement to the Napoleonic Code that controls Costa Rica. Contrasting Costa Rica law (the Napoleonic Code) to that of the United States (English common law) it is understandable why numerous Americans are the victims of fraud in Costa Rica. Although this article is dry, in the sense that it offers no pizzazz, it is none the less informative of the challenges and obstacles you will face if you decide to open a business or buy property.

 

No matter the truth that the Napoleonic Code was not the very first civil code and did not stand for every one of Napoleons’ empire, it was among the most prominent. It was ratified in lots of countries inhabited by the French throughout the Napoleonic Wars and developed the basis of the individual legislation devices in Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, in addition to Poland (1808– 1946), and to Germany to the eastern of the Rhine. The Napoleonic code was used till the intro of the Gesetzbuch in 1900 as the initial civil code for all Germany.

The Napoleonic Code was additionally accepted in 1864 in Romania, and proceeds today. The Code was likewise embraced in Egypt as part of a device of the combined courts in Egypt after the autumn of Khedive Ismail. The Napoleonic Code was equated into Arabic from the French between 1881-1883. Numerous various other codes with marginal effect were the German, Swiss and Austrian, nevertheless also there some effect of the French code could be really felt, as the Napoleonic Code is taken the initial efficient codification of regulation.

The civil law devices of the countries of modern multinational Europe, with the exemption of Russia and numerous other Scandinavian Countries have, to differing degrees, been impacted by the Napoleonic Code. The lawful devices of the Great Britain other than Scotland, aside from Ireland and the Commonwealth, are based upon the English common law in contrast to from Roman equivalent. Scottish legislation, though similarly a civil law device, is un-codified; it was impacted by Romano-Dutch law concept, and by English legislation. In the Gulf nations of the Middle East, the influence of the Napoleonic code incorporated with pointers of Islamic legislation is clear, also in Saudi Arabia (which follows additional to Islamic legislation). In Kuwait as an example, house civil liberties, girls civil liberties, and the education and learning device can be deemed Islamic reenactments of the French civil code. A few of these features can be viewed in different other Gulf states, although much less obvious compared to in Kuwait, this primarily being as a result of the autonomous attributes of Kuwait, instead of the absolutist attributes of many different other Gulf nations.

Many Latin American countries, such as Costa Rica have their system of civil law founded on the principles of the Napoleonic Code. Many who come her, especially from the United States, assume that contract law and real estate law are similar to those in the States. Noting is further from the truth that is why it is necessary to hire a competent Costa Rica lawyer who can guide you through this process.

Costa Rica Money Laundering Criminals Indicted

Money LaunderingRecently I had the task of recovering  money that a client had sent to an on line Costa Rica  money laundering scheme. The same Costa Rica money laundering criminals indicted in USA.. Fortunately my client was able to recover his money prior to the closure of the scam. Not every one is so lucky. Once again, if it sounds too good to be true it is. The scam was offering an method to move money without regulators knowing where the money originated.

The New York Times reports that  this scam was “a PayPal for criminals”. The scheme embraced activities globally that allowed participants to move money with almost complete anonymity. According to the article, Liberty Reserve were responsible for criminal activity ranging from stolen identities to child pornography. In the indictment which was handed down in Manhattan, “Liberty Reserve was in fact used extensively for illegal purposes, functioning in effect as the bank of choice for the criminal underworld.”  The New York Times also reports that a “senior law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the charges had not yet been announced, said that one undercover agent was able to register accounts under names like “Joe Bogus” and describe the purpose of the account as “for cocaine” without questioning. That no-questions-asked verification system made Liberty Reserve the premier bank for cyber-criminals, facilitating a broad range of illegal online activity.”

According to information contained in the indictment Liberty reserve is estimated to have laundered more than $6 billion dollars. The founder of Liberty Reserve, Athur Budovsky, who reportedly renounced his United States citizenship in 2011, was arrested in Spain on Friday. Budovsky formed a Costa Rica  corporation in 2006 and used it as a vehicle to promote this money laundering scheme. Previously Costa Rica law provided a method of forming corporations that were completely anonymous. They are called S.A. (Sociedad Anonima) and it is virtually impossible to pierce the corporate veil due to the structure of the S.A.. Unlike American corporations an  S.A. is owned by the person who has physical possession of the corporate books. The corporate officers that appear on the official records in most cases have no connection to the ownership.

One reason I felt it was important to post this information is fue to the high incidence of fraudulent activities here in Costa Rica. Many times unsuspecting Americans and other visitors are easy prey for the con artist. Remeber the old adage “if it’s too good to be true, then it is”? Whether it be investment offers or real estate you owe to yourself and your family to be sure before you commit any money to anything in Costa Rica.

We advise our clients that prior to sending any money to Costa Rica, especially via Western Union, they retain the professionals at Cody L. Gear and Associates to conduct a thorough due diligence. The cost of such an inquiry could prove to be pail in comparison to the loss you may suffer if you don’t. For more information call us toll free at 321*218-9209.

 

Costa Rica Real Estate Fraud

As in The U.S.- Costa Rica Real Estate Fraud Increasing

Real Estate FraudSimilar to real estate frauds in the United States, the police busted a real estate closing Monday and arrested five men suspected of a Costa Rica Real Estate Fraud. The arrests took place at a the closing agents office in Guadalupe.

According to news sources agents described an elaborate scheme in which a lot was secretly removed from a larger piece of property and the corresponding plats and other supporting documents forged. According to the Judicial Investigating Organization (OIJ) the lot was listed for sale and that at the closing detectives seized two checks of $25,000 each.

According to news sources, the unusual thing was the agents were able to move in at the closing. OIJ spokesperson said they received an anonymous tip last week and were able to contact the real owner of the property who said that his land was not for sale.

Of those arrested one is 82, and the other suspects 35 to 52, according to OIJ. OIJ did not reveal the manes of the suspects. The property in question is in Tres Ríos in the Cartago area.

ACFE Logo 2OIJ acted quickly after obtaining the tip and were successful in thwarting the fraud. Being a Certified Fraud Examiner, I know that most of these types of real estate fraud are not detected until sometime after the closing. By being proactive the OIJ and its agents should be applauded for detecting and preventing this fraud. As in the United States, typically real estate fraud cases have low priority and insufficient resources to detect, apprehend and prosecute such cases. If you are considering buying real estate in Costa Rica, call us! We know the ends and outs of Costa Rica Real Estate Fraud.