March 15th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Four lawyers were arrested yesterday, accused of mismanaging $50 million in cash and property belonging to a German woman.
The accused are two women, identified by the last names Bendano (61 years of age), and Chavarria (37); and two men, Loria (65) and Porras (60). They were arrested at their homes in Alajuelita, Cartago, and Coronado.
According to the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ), the German woman filed a complaint stating that she had entrusted the administration of $4 million and about 15 properties, valued at $46 million, to Bendano and Loria. She had inherited the money and property from her late husband.
The properties are located in several areas of the southern zone, and include beach homes, hotels, farms, and other properties.
The prosecution alleges that Loria and Bendano transferred the shares of 19 corporations, which held the properties, into a dormant company that they controlled.
But the case doesn’t begin there.
Osvaldo Henderson, Deputy Fraud Prosecutor, said the case began with the death of the German woman’s husband, at which time it was declared that the woman, along with the deceased’s mother, were the sole heirs to the man’s property, including the properties in Costa Rica.
However, Henderson said that a now disbarred lawyer by the last name of Carazo, who was the attorney for the deceased, attempted to take over all the assets when he learned that his client had died.
When arriving in Costa Rica, the man’s widow and mother learned what the lawyer had done, and pressed criminal charges against Carazo. Ultimately, the case ended in a settlement, in which Carazo pledged to return the companies and all assets to the widow and mother.
This is where the four attorneys now accused of fraud entered the picture. The accused apparently offered to help the widow and mother through the multi-year process of recovering their property.
The widow, in economic straights due to not having access to the funds or properties, accepted a line of credit from the attorneys, who convinced her to turn over all of the shares of all of the properties to them as collateral. However, the lawyers are accused of not returning the assets and instead using them as their own.