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20 years

Ben Affleck film, “Runner Runner” sparks outrage with Costa Rican police, minister

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December 5th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) The Ben Affleck film, “Runner Runner” is sparking outrage with Costa Rican police and the Minister of Public Security.

 

Despite being released in the United States in October 2013, it seems Costa Rican officials have only now taken notice that the film portrays Costa Rican police officers, and the country in general, in a less-than-flattering light.

 

The film’s storyline, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, follows Princeton grad student and online poker player, “Richie,” who travels to Costa Rica to confront an online gambling tycoon who he believes has swindled him.

 

In the film, Costa Rica is depicted as a haven for gamblers and drug addicts, a den of prostitution and the home of corrupt police and security officials.

 

One scene in particular – which depicts Costa Rican police officers behaving less than professionally – has ruffled the feathers of Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Security (MSP).

 

In the scene, Costa Rican police officers – dressed in official uniforms that bear the Fuerza Publica (Costa Rica’s national police) insignia – are seen in the company of prostitutes while drinking and smoking cigars.

 

Interestingly, the movie was not filmed in Costa Rica.  Director Brad Furman chose to film in Puerto Rico instead – and Costa Rica is even depicted as an island.

 

Costa Rica’s Minister of Public Security, Celso Gamboa said that the unauthorized use of the police insignia is unlawful, and that no Costa Rican officials had granted their permission for the insignia and uniforms to be used in the film.

 

“Instead of drawing attention to our country for its flora and fauna, they tarnish the image of our civilian police,” Gamboa told reporters.

 

“It is a way of telling criminals and drug addicts that Costa Rica is perfect [for such behavior].  We want this to be fixed because you don’t play with (mock) our country.”

 

In Latin America, the film was titled “Apuesta Maxima.”  Watch the trailer below.

 

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  • HONEST MAN

    I saw this movie it was really bad but there is a problem with some US citizens that come to Costa Rica and steal and do not so legal things in CR From The US Justice department

    United States v. Glen Adkins, Jr., and Warren F. Tonsing, Jr.
    Court Docket Number: 3:12-cr-00259-RJC-DCK
    This case is assigned to Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr., United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, 401 West Trade Street, Room 210, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202.
    A sentencing for Glen Adkins, Jr., (a/k/a Benjamin Walker, Robert Hayward) and Warren F. Tonsing, Jr., (a/k/a Tony Blake) occurred on October 30, 2014. Adkins was sentenced to 300 months of incarceration, followed by 2 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $2.4 million in restitution. Tonsing was sentenced to 144 months of incarceration, followed by 2 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $2.4 million in restitution.
    It is important for you to know that just because the Court ordered the defendant to make restitution in this case does not mean that the defendant is financially capable of making restitution at this time. In the event that sufficient restitution payments are received from the defendant, the funds will be distributed by the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.
    On August 8, 2013, Glen Adkins, Jr., (a/k/a Benjamin Walker, Robert Hayward) and Warren F. Tonsing, Jr., (a/k/a Tony Blake) were each convicted, in a jury trial that began on August 5, 2013, of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud (Count 1: 18 U.S.C. § 1349), eight counts of wire fraud (Counts 2-9: 18 U.S.C. § 1343), one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments (Count 10: 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h)), and four counts of international money laundering (Counts 11-14: 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(2)(A)) charged in an August 2012 indictment in connection with an offshore fraudulent telemarketing scheme based in Costa Rica. Previously, Adkins was charged by complaint in July 2012.According to court documents and the evidence at trial, Adkins and Tonsing and their co-conspirators worked in a “call center” or boiler room located in Costa Rica and defrauded United States residents, typically over the age of 55, by deceiving them into believing that they had won prizes in a “sweepstakes contest.” Victim calls were made from Costa Rica using the internet and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to disguise the originating location of the calls. The evidence revealed that the victims were informed that to receive their “prize,” they were to wire, via Western Union, thousands of dollars for a purported “refundable insurance fee” to a so-called “insurance entity” in Costa Rica. When victims questioned the legitimacy of the operation, they were given phone numbers purportedly to United States government employees – actually telemarketers in Costa Rica – who falsely reassured the victims that they had in fact won a sweepstakes prize. The wires to Costa Rica went through Western Union in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The defendants and their co-conspirators continued to solicit victims to send more money until their victims’ funds were depleted or the victims realized they were defrauded.

    US Justie department are looking for these guys big time and there is reward for Cody Trevor Burgensteiner and Jeffrey Bonner
    United States v. Jeffrey Robert Bonner et al.
    Court Docket Number: 3:13-cr-21
    This case is assigned to Chief Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr., United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, 401 West Trade Street, Room 210, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202.
    On August 16, 2013, an indictment filed in the Western District of North Carolina against Jeffrey Robert Bonner (a/k/a Nicholas Dover, Keith Forbes, Michael Forbes, Michael Miller, Ashley Clark, and William Forbes), Cody Trevor Burgsteiner (a/k/a Clinton Barnes and Everette Jones) and Darra Lee Shephard (a/k/a Nora Southerland and Donna Ramirez) was unsealed. The indictment charges one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud (Count 1: 18 U.S.C. § 1349) in connection with an offshore fraudulent telemarketing scheme based in Costa Rica. The indictment also charges each defendant with eight counts of wire fraud (Counts 2-9: 18 U.S.C. § 1343), one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering (Count 10: 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h)), four counts of money laundering (Counts 11-14: 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(2)(A)), and seeks forfeiture (18 U.S.C. § 982(a)(8)) from each defendant. The defendants are currently fugitives.
    According to the indictment, Bonner owned and operated “call centers,” or boiler rooms, located in San Jose, Costa Rica, which he and his co-defendants and co-conspirators used to defraud United States residents, typically over the age of 55, by deceiving them into believing that they had won prizes in a “sweepstakes contest.” The indictment alleges that Bonner, Burgsteiner, Shephard, and their co-conspirators made calls to victims from Costa Rica using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which utilizes computers to make telephone calls over the Internet, thereby disguising the originating location of the calls. As charged, victims were informed that to receive their “prize,” they were to wire, via Western Union, thousands of dollars for a purported “refundable insurance fee” to a so-called “insurance entity” in Costa Rica. When victims questioned the legitimacy of the operation, they were given phone numbers purportedly to United States government agents who falsely reassured the victims that they had, in fact, won a sweepstakes prize. Many of the wires to Costa Rica went through Western Union in Charlotte, North Carolina. The co-conspirators then continued to solicit victims to send more money until their victims’ funds were depleted.

    IF YOU KNOW JEFFREY BONNER OR CODY BURGSTEINER THE US MARSHAL AND US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT BOTH HAVE REWARDS FOR THERE ARREST ALSO THEY ARE FUGITIVES AND HANG OUT AT DEL REY HOTEL AND SHOOTER BAR IN ZAPOTE. LETS GET THESE GUYS THEY STOLE MONEY FROM MANY IN US.

    • NorthendFool

      You sure are a windy guy. Please never sit beside me on a plane.

      • HONEST MAN

        Yesterday i met 3 old ladies from the US that Jeffrey bonner and Cody Burgensteiner stole money from. These guys are scum bags. The US justice department wants to put these thiefs behind bars. Thses guys stole money and lived it up in Costa Rica. Call the US embassy if you know where they are at. There is already two US citizens that been convicted and received 25 years and 12 years behind bars.

    • Mitch Robertson

      How much is the reward?

      • HONEST MAN

        There is a reward of $35.000 for the Capture of Cody Burgenstein and Jeff Bonner from the families that had there money stolen and $45.000 from another group of people that had money stolen. They already paid out money for Glen adkins and Warren tonnsing being arrrested. FBI are looking for these scum bags and there US passport have been denied by many countries.

        • luvsactown

          Jeffery Bonner is my daughters father, we live in California, he has never paid child support. I would love to find anyone in Costa Rica who could get me an address for him. I only recently found out about this case. I hear that Costa Rican officials would arrest him for not paying child support. He should spend the rest of his life in Jail. If he is out he will always be hurting someone.

  • http://alligatorsnroadkill.blogspot.com/ John Dungan

    This is actually pretty funny. We just recently saw this movie. It is not a good flick, but a lot of it is very accurate. I can’t say that I ever saw any CR cops actually consort with prostitutes, but I do know that there is plenty of illegal activity going on that the cops do nothing about. I never believed that online gambling is or was as big as this movie depicts, nor do I believe there are any real casinos as big as depicted. But, I bet there was plenty of cooperation from local law enforcement with such activity. And, the fact that it has taken CR cops more than a year to become unhappy about their depiction in this movie says a whole lot about the quality of their work.

  • prdatki

    It would be better if they were congressmen instead of the police.

  • Yeims

    Members of the Costa Rican Air Force and the country’s police have a lot in common.

  • Ken Morris

    I haven’t seen the film, and based upon the trailer, don’t care to. It looks pretty bad. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the film completely mischaracterizes Costa Rica. The cigars are wrong, and I’ve yet to see anything out of Hollywood that accurately depicts prostitution anywhere, much less in Costa Rica. Americans simply don’t understand it, and films are geared to what Americans want to believe, not what is true.

    However, I too find CR’s reaction funny, because in effect it wants to do the same thing the film does, namely mischaracterize itself, albeit more flatteringly. It’s a battle over two different mythical constructions, neither of which are accurate.

    Maybe a sharp denial by CR is in order, since that which isn’t denied can end up being believed, but after this I would advise CR to drop it. Pitching a fit over a bad film nobody believes anyway just draws more attention to it.

    • Larry Worsham

      I haven’t seen the film, either, but if they’re portraying Costa Rica as an island that says all that needs be said about any research done prior to production. Even after living in Costa Rica a dozen years we’ve got friends that still believe it’s an island.

      Perhaps they should just cry to the international court about it, as is their standard mode of response to any situation.

      • Ken Morris

        Funny about the international court. Fortunately, I don’t believe there’s anywhere they can build a road in protest.

      • SDPUS

        Maybe the authors just had foresight Larry…lol. After all with a canal to the north and one to the south…Costa Rica will soon be an island.

  • testicle buster

    Costa Rica is the perfect Country for Corruption. Look at the Brazen Criminal Doug Smith, willspy.com; and his accomplices. He operated a Fraudulent business (as an illegal alien), in Costa Rica for over eight years. Even threatening victims with Costa Rican Law Enforcement, and OIJ. And the Costa Ricans didn’t even prosecute him. Just deported him. Crime without punishment.

  • SDPUS

    The film is a very accurate portrayal of the gambling outfits that are run out of this region of the world. The main players busted in this article are from my hometown, near Rochester, NY. I went to high school with his son and know them very well. It is much bigger than most realize. Soon Costa Rica will lose these call centers jobs too, like them or not. Gov Chris Christie legalized these operations to be run out of New Jersey.

    http://www.costiganmedia.com/news/gambling911com-interview-rocnow-020710.html

    • SDPUS

      My hometown, near Rochester, is 12,000 people. Everyone knows these wise guys. They are big time business owners. The ones I know are actually very good people, who just happen to like gambling. The government obviously just wants their tax money, which is understandable. The call centers that operate out of these countries, are just that. The money stays in the USA. Costa Rica is very complicent, just as the movie indicates. And make no doubt, there are many unsavory people who also get involved in this type of business.

  • Chris Thomas

    Well actually the movie was right on except for the fat that CR is not an island as far as everything else is very true the CR cops are corrupt and the government is one of the most corrupt on the planet. Money laundering drugs, sport books, illegal call centers that scam people out of money is CR’s specialty. The CR government are clowns, no one needs permission to use their uniforms in a movie is freedom of artistic rights, awesome movie make more like this.

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