Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Lawyer gets 186 years for fake marriage scam

February 3, 2012

The three-judge panel that tried and convicted lawyer and notary Kattia Salas, 41, to 186 years in prison called her “a marriage machine.” She was sentenced for performing at least 31 “paper marriages” so that foreigners could get residency, the daily La Nación reported.

Despite the severity of the sentence, Costa Rican law limits the length of prison time to a total of three maximum sentences. That means Salas could get 18 years for falsifying information.

The tribunal added a payment of ₡1 million ($2,000) to be paid to victims in each of the 31 paper marriages named in the conviction, plus another ₡1.2 billion ($2.4 million) for court costs.

La Nación reported that on a single day, lawyer Salas presided over no fewer than seven of the paper marriages. Some of the marriages took Salas less than 10 minutes to register.

For the judges, the testimony of the witnesses in the more than 30 cases was compelling, without malice toward the defendant.

Not all the cases where the victims suddenly found themselves “married” in the eyes of the law were women. In the case of Orlando Ríos of Sarapiquí, his cédula (ID card) was stolen inside his brief case from his car. Six months later, he found himself married to an unknown person.

In almost all the cases, the victims’ cedulas were either stolen or lost. They found themselves married to one of 26 Cubans, four Chinese, a Nicaraguan, a Salvadoran and a British woman. 

You may be interested

Costa Rica Coffee Culture at a Crossroads
Coffee
7 views
Coffee
7 views

Costa Rica Coffee Culture at a Crossroads

Steve Hodel - September 27, 2020

The traditional cafe society in Costa Rica has reached a cultural crossroads. Older generations of coffee drinking traditionalists are crossing…

International rejection grows against project that threatens NGOs and journalists in Nicaragua
Costa Rica
784 views
Costa Rica
784 views

International rejection grows against project that threatens NGOs and journalists in Nicaragua

Julia RIOS / AFP - September 27, 2020

International rejection against a bill considered threatening to journalists and human rights defenders in Nicaragua increased Friday with demands that…

Slothy Sunday: Meet the sloth moms, released and thriving
Sloth Sundays
1772 views
Sloth Sundays
1772 views

Slothy Sunday: Meet the sloth moms, released and thriving

Rachael Griffiths / Toucan Rescue Ranch - September 27, 2020

This Sloth Sunday is dedicated to the released two-fingered sloth moms that have been prospering since being in Toucan Rescue Ranch’s…