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US real estate developer accused of $7 million fraud

U.S. real estate developer Patrick Vincent Hundley, 45, a major player in the central Pacific town of Jacó, was arrested Monday along with two other suspects on suspicion of committing $7 million in real estate fraud.

The daily La Nación reported on Wednesday that the developer of projects including Diamante del Sol, Bahía Azul and The Palms, and the owner and president of DayStar Propertiesallegedly defrauded five foreign investors of millions of dollars when he convinced them to invest in a property in Jacó, a popular tourist beach destination.

The Prosecutor’s Office confirmed in an email to The Tico Times on Wednesday that Hundley was accused of administrative fraud, a crime that carries up to 10 years in prison. The same email added that another man with the last names Mora Delagdo, and a woman with the last names Fernández Cruz also had been charged in the case.

A records search shows a man with the last names Mora Delgado belongs to several of Hundley’s 70 listed Costa Rican corporations (both SAs and LLCs).

According to a criminal complaint filed in July 2013, Hundley allegedly told investors he could help them avoid paying higher real estate prices by purchasing property through his own company. The plaintiffs then paid Hundley up to $500,000 a month for future shares in that company. However, the plaintiffs say that after paying $7 million, they never received the shares or the 15,850 square-meter property.

According to La Nación, the property Hundley offered for sale had liens on it and its ownership was in question, which prosecutors say constitutes additional administrative fraud.

Hundley became a permanent resident of Costa Rica in 2008, according to the Immigration Administration. Hundley – who also formerly owned Jacó’s Second Division soccer team the Jacó Rays – has said he first moved to Costa Rica in 2002.

According to the sports daily Al Día, on Wednesday, Jacó Rays President Johnny Pérez told Radio ADN that Hundley hasn’t owned the team “for a while” and now is a sponsor, donating $1,500 a month to the team.

A hearing before a criminal judge in Garabito was set for 3 p.m. on Wednesday to determine if the court would impose preventive measures while the investigation continues.

Watch a video of Hundley introducing the Rays, founded in 2010, here:

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