Thursday 11 August 2022

For 12 years gringo pretended to be a Tico

He even married, but he will not spend a day in jail

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11 August 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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The American who stole a Tico’s identity for 12 years received three years of conditional discharge, in other words, he will not go to jail but during this time if does not commit any other crime

Robert Allen Wright, 50, in custody in this photo, lived as a Tico for 12 years as the Costa Rican José Humberto Howell Brokke. Photo: OIJ

Robert Allen Wright, 50, accepted responsibility for posing since March 2005 as José Humberto Howell Brokke.

Wright even married a Colombian with the last names Hernández Narváez, who acquired Costa Rican nationality through a previous marriage to a Costa Rican. The couple even had a child.

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Although the gringo pleaded guilty,  it remains unknown why he acted in this way. The sentence does not clarify it.

The OIJ disclosed identity theft on October 26, 2018, and the case was closed on Friday, December 20, 2019, when the sentence was final, but nothing was known before then.

Identity theft was discovered by the person affected himself in October 2017, when he came to Costa Rica after four decades living in Aruba.

According to the court documents, the usurper knew that the Tico had been born in San José in 1963 and had left Costa Rica on January 19, 1971, when he was 8 years old when his parents had taken him to the Caribbean island.

The gringo did not count on José Humberto Howell returning to Costa Rica, when he came to renew his passport and Immigration, in the process asked him for his cedula (Costa Rican national ID), as he did not have one, he went to request it from the Civil Registry (Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones – TSE), where they denied it because he had already requested the cedula twice and in the photo was someone very different from him.

That was of the false José Humberto who had first requested a cedula on March 17, 2005, and renewed it on March 6, 2015.

The identity theft was discovered in 2017 when the real José Humberto Howell Brokke returned to Costa Rica after a 47-year absence and could not get a passport or cedula.
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Surprised, the real José Humberto filed a complaint with the TSE and with the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) on October 15, 2017. There were two José Humberto Howell Brokke, but only one was the real one.

The Costa Rican learned that in the Civil Registry he appeared as married to a Colombian woman, that there was a child registered with his last name and in addition, a permit to carry arms was taken out, appeared as the owner of a gun, and his passport.

“The investigation carried out by the Superior Election Tribunal corroborated what was said by Mr. Howell Brokke (the real one) in the sense that he had not come to Costa Rica for forty-seven years, therefore, the application for the cedula and the renewal in his name had never been by him,” said in the document of the final judgment.

The American was detained on October 25, 2018, in the San Francisco neighborhood, in La Guácima de Alajuela, where the false documents were found.

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Costa Rican authorities received the real identity of the usurper from Florida authorities,  as Robert Allen Wright, born on July 10, 1969.

The Ministerio Publico (Prosecutor’s Office) charged Wright with four counts of ideological falsehood (by the cedula, the passport, the permit to carry arms and the pistol in his name).

The Costa Rica Penal Code establishes a sentence of one to six years for each count, but the Prosecutor’s Office requested a sentence of 10 months be imposed for each count, for a total of 40 (three years and four months).

But the judges decided that the sentence should be 30 months (two years and six months).

The American’s lawyer asked that the sentence be served with public service, but the judges rejected that measure, giving him a conditional discharge.

“The sentenced person has a job, home and family stability in our country, a minor and the child’s mother depend on their income. Furthermore, it has been considered that the defendant stated that he is sorry for the behavior that he carried out in this country, that he wishes to adjust his conduct and worked with the justice administration acknowledging having committed the acts,” states the sentence.

In addition, the court ordered that the false identity be deleted from the records of the immigration service, civil and firearms registries.

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