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  Pacheco and the Rest of the Central American Presidents Discuss Free Trade With George W. Bush
  Genesis Fund Creators Arrested
  Arias Remains In First Place
  More Hits on Drug Trafficking
  MOPT Plans To Ease Congestion on Paseo Colón
  A Woman For President??

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 justice.

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 completed.

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 San José.

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 unfounded.

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.

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