Genesis Fund Creators Arrested
Three Americans were detained by
the authorities on Wednesday
following raids on two homes in
Paquera in Puntarenas and Sabana
Norte, in San José.
The three men - Víctor Hawthorne
Preston (65), John Sherman
Lipton (59) and Richard Blake
Leonard (72) - were wanted in
the United States for fraud in
excess of us$60 million dollars.
The charges against the men
include mail fraud, money
laundering and obstruction of
The International Police
(INTERPOL) moved in on the men
in mid afternoon on Wednesday in
a simultaneous action against
the three men, on team visiting
the home of Preston in La Sabana,
while the another team moved in
on the luxury homes of Lipton
and Leonard in Tango Mar, an
exclusive community in Paquera.
According to the INTERPOL, the
men have been wanted for several
years but it was only in the
last three months that agents
located the whereabouts of all
three men and began extradition
proceedings. Police did not move
until their legal paperwork was
The men are accused of creating
the Genesis Fund, an investment
scheme called The Human Element,
in 1984 in Orange County,
California. The group said it
captured investment money to
invest in the buying and selling
of private stocks.
Lipton and a small group of
associates moved their operation
to Costa Rica while others
remained in the U.S. The group
gave seminars and distributed
information to new investors,
who invested about us$100
million dollars with the group.
The investment disappeared and
so did the men, leaving
investors in the cold.
Lipton and Leonard were rarely
seen in San José, preferring the
quiet coastal life, while
Preston was a regular on the
streets and "gringo" hangouts of
Many described Preston as a
humble and timid man, who
sometimes appeared "paranoid" to
friends, claiming to have lost a
bundle of money in investments
and that "they" out to get him.
As it turns out, the "they" were
the police who where on his
trail and his paranoia was not
Jorge Rojas, Director of the
Organismo de Investigacion
Judicial (OIJ) who assisted
INTERPOL agents in the detention
of the men, says that the men
are at the order of the Juzgado
de Puntarenas and the Primer
Circuito Judicial de San José,
where extradition proceedings
are already underway.
The three men will be held in
San José's San Sebastian jail
awaiting their extradition.
Victor Preston being led off by
police following his arrest at his home on Wednesday. Preston is
accused of being part of the Genesis Fund who defrauded
investors of up to us$60 million.