Saturday 30 September 2023

OIJ directs 11 raids in Costa Rica and Spain to locate the owner of missing ‘sportsbook’ owner

A man, his girlfriend, and mother (all Ticos) are the brains behind the kidnapping of American and naturalized Costa Rican, sportsbook owner William Sean Creighton

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The short arm of Costa Rica’s Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) extended to Zaragoza, Spain this Friday in the arrest of three people linked to the kidnapping of the American businessman William Sean Creighton, owner of a sportsbook in Costa Rica, who went missing on September 24, 2018.

Spain’s Guardia Vicil carried out the raid in Zaragoza, Spain to arrest three Costa Ricans believed to be the “brains” behind the kidnapping of Sportsbook owner William Sean Creighton. Photo from OIJ

According to the OIJ, the brains behind the kidnapping and disappearance of the Creighton, are a couple (both Costa Rica) and the mother of the main suspect identified by his last names Morales Vega; while his girlfriend is surnamed Solís.

Morales’ mother was also arrested, a woman named Vega and who is alleged to have participated in the kidnapping. The three left Costa Rica with various destinations between October 2018 and January 2019 prior to their arrest this Friday

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In Costa Rica, the OIJ raided locations in Cartago, La Unión de Cartago, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Guadalupe, Siquirres and Limón, resulting in the detention of nine people. All the detained are Costa Ricans.

Creighton, a sportsbook operator in Costa Rica, disappeared after leaving work on September 24, 2018. His wife, a Costa Rican, reported him missing the following the day.

The director of the OIJ, Walter Espinoza, explained the investigation started on September 25.

“His family received extortion calls and made a significant payment to secure his release; however, since September 24 it is not known where he is,” said Espinoza.

Espinoza added that the payment was made through the use of bitcons and that it was by tracking the money that the investigators got the first break in the case.

“There was a payment in virtual money (bitcoins). That payment was made through 3 virtual wallets. The OIJ with its experts managed to establish that one of the members of the organization had access to one of those wallets and had connected through an IP located in their home, which means that we have advanced from a technological point of view,” added the OIJ chief.

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“The leaders of the group are in Zaragoza and in Costa Rica, it was determined that there are another nine people close to the those that planned the kidnapping,” Espinoza said.

He added that the objective of the raids, in addition to the detentions, is to determine the whereabouts of the Creighton, also known as “Tony”.

Photo from OIJ

Creighton is linked to the sportsbook 5Dimes, which operates in the Equus building, in San Pedro de Montes de Oca.

Creighton was last seen in Granadilla de Curridabat.

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During the investigation into the kidnapping, the OIJ learned that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was investigating Creighton for alleged money laundering.

Last October, an online news source reported that police have recovered the body of the 43-year old Tony. The story was refuted by a spokesperson for the online sportsbook stating, that the reports of Creighton found dead are incorrect and that everyone at the company “stays positive that he will return to them soon”.

William Sean Creighton is a naturalized Costa Rica, married to a Tica in 2011. The couple made their home in Santa Ana.

In March 2016, La Nación published a series of articles in which it was reported that a sportsbook based in Costa Rica would have used gift cards from the shopping site to allow Americans to place illegal bets on the Internet and launder allegedly about US$2 million dollars.




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