COSTA RICA NEWS — The Cuban-American, Luis Angel Milanés Tamayo, who ran the high yielding investment fund in Costa Rica will be going to trial on charges of fraud in July 2015, confirms the press office of the Poder Judicial.
The trial is scheduled to last four months, from July 1, 2015 to October 20, 2015 and will be held at the Tribunal de Juicio de San José (San José Courthouse).
Milanés, now 63, operated Savings Unlimited, a money investment house located on the ninth floor of the Centro Colón, in San José, where investors were promised payment of between 2% and 3% monthly on their cash deposits.
The investment house closed its doors on November 25, 2002, leaving investors empty handed. Gradually, some of the affected began to file complaints for fraud.
Two days before the November closure of Savings Unlimited, Luis Milanés disappeared. He was believed to have left Costa Rica. After six years on the run, on June 9, 2008, Milanés was arrested at the El Salvador airport travelling with a false passport.
Returned to Costa Rica, the courts did not hold him in preventive detention (as is customary). The prosecutor in the case, Alfredo Araya, explained that there was no flight risk and that Milanés had offered to deliver up US$14 million dollars in property and expressed a desire to reconcile with the victims.
In May 2011, three years after the detention in El Salvador, Judge Mario Piedra approved a settlement agreement for Milanés to deliver cash and property.
On June 25, 2012, Judge Dayanna Segura extended the delivery date for an additional six months. However, in October 2013, the discussions in judicial circles centred around the failure of Milanés to deliver on the agreement. The court learned that the victims were still owed US$578.000 dollars in the cash payment.
Making good on a reconciliation proposal the law allows for a suspension of criminal action, ie. no trial. However, due to the failure, the accused must be brought to trial.
To date, this chapter in Costa Rica’s investment schemes has yet to close.
Another chapter, that of “The Brothers”, the high yield investment house run by Osvaldo and Luis Enrique Villalobos, also continues open.
The Brothers that ran for more than 20 years, ended up defrauding more than 6.000 investors, the majority American and Canadians for more than a half billion dollars. Unfortunately for investors, during the investigation only $7 million was recovered – the rest is still unaccounted for.
The two brothers were accused of running a Ponzi scheme.
Enrique has been missing since closing the office in San Pedro Mall in October 14, 2002, while brother Oswaldo was convicted, in 2007, on two of three charges and sentenced to sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was acquitted on a money laundering charge. Oswaldo has since been released, having served out his time.
Editor’s Note: I have been personally following this case from day one, personally knowing a number of people who had invested in both investment houses, at the time dubbed a “balanced portfolio.” No one believed at the time back in 2002 that this could ever happen.
But it did. Many were convinced that both the Villalobos Brothers and Milanés would make good on their promises. Investor groups were formed, lawyers were hired, fired and hired. Scammers came out of the woodwork, offering investor victims ways of recovering their money. Some victims became victims once more.
Ahead to today, I recently had the privilege of speaking to a founder of the one of the investment group, a die-hard Villalobos supporter. I won’t mention his name, but, he finally admitted that it’s a lost cause, working hard to recover his loss. “Almost there,” he told me.
Source: With notes from “Luis Milanés irá a juicio en julio del 2015 por estafa“, La Nacion