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While one dad goes to jail on fraud charges in Costa Rica

August 15, 2008

Four-year fugitive Thomas Jafeck, wanted for financial fraud in Costa Rica, was arrested in Miami on July 28.

Jafeck, 70, shut down his Costa Rica Green company, an unregulated investment outfit in the Mercedes Tower on Paseo Colón, in 2002. Judicial authorities here issued arrest warrants for him, his son, Thomas, 47, and wife, Billie Joe, 70, in 2004.

According to an Interpol press release, the company attracted national and foreign investors in 2001, promising returns of three percent or more.

“What is certain is that this company had no specific activity that would generate this return,” the press release states. “In its advertising information, they hid the truth and presented false information in order to defraud its investors. Taking advantage of the fact its investors didn´t understand the country´s laws, they transferred the money to different banks and, in December 2002, they closed their offices and refused to pay their clients.”

Costa Rican authorities will request Jafeck´s extradition. If extradited and convicted here, Jafeck could face up to 10 years in prison.

Interpol Costa Rica spokesman Emilio León said he hopes U.S. authorities will extradite Jafeck. He said the fact that Interpol Washington forwarded the arrest information is a hopeful sign.

The United States rarely extradites its nationals to face trials here, León said, and Costa Rica never extradites its citizens. The two countries have an extradition treaty, but it doesn´t require either to extradite its citizens. Costa Rica has 60 days from the date of the arrest to file for Jafeck´s extradition.

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