June 23rd, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) The owners of 16 cattle farms totaling 223 hectares in Cabanga de Guatuso, Alajuela, have filed fraud charges against Michel Popeo, an Italian citizen, claiming the man fraudulently took control of the properties and later took a loan against them for ¢60 million.
The properties belong to Laughing Rio Cote, Ltd., a company formed to hold the properties on behalf of four American owners.
Floyd Larry Johnson, a U.S. citizen and one of the principals of the company, filed the complaint against the Italian in San José last week.
Apparently, suspicions were raised after a worker at one of the farms reported to the owners that he had seen that the property was for sale.
An attorney representing Laughing Rio said that after some investigation, they realized that the farm had been mortgaged without their knowledge.
Last week, some workers at the farm reported that gunmen had arrived to attempt to take control of the property, but workers were able to resist the men.
According to records in the National Registry, the Italian and an associate were able to revoke two representatives of the company in the National Registry, and appointed themselves as replacements.
With his new appointment, Popeo allegedly took a loan against the property for ¢60 million on February 26th, 2014, which he had promised to repay in full one month later, which he failed to do.
This is not the only accusation of fraud lodged against Popeo. Last Wednesday, the daily La Nacion reported that the owners of four cattle ranches in Monterey de Sabalito in San Carlos also filed a complaint against Popeo, after he allegedly invaded their land after fraudulently taking possession of the property in the National Registry.