Investors in the U.S. state of Michigan made up the majority of alleged victims in what investigators are describing as multi-million dollar real estate fraud in the central Pacific tourist town of Jacó, reported WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Thursday.
Police arrested U.S. real estate developer Patrick Hundley, 46, in February for allegedly defrauding several investors in the United States of $7 million. Hundley allegedly took their money but failed to add them as shareholders of a 15,850 square-meter property in the city known for its surfing and beaches.
WZZM said that four of the plaintiffs are Michigan business owners, some of whom previously worked with Hundley when he still lived in the state. The television station named Dag Hascall, Robert Sweezie, Dan Carrol and Terry Fiscus among the alleged victims.
A criminal court in Puntarenas set Hundley’s bail at over $3 million. The court also ordered the U.S. suspect not to leave Costa Rica, nor contact the plaintiffs or witnesses, and ordered him to report to the court once a month for a year, according to the Judicial Branch. The defendant’s lawyer, Erick Ramos, told the daily La Nación that they would put up several properties as collateral to post bail.
Hundley has been in jail since Feb. 17 and remained there as of Thursday, according to La Nación. Two notaries also arrested with Hundley last month have since been released.
According to the allegation, Hundley, a Costa Rican resident and former owner of the Jacó Rays soccer club, offered to help the investors avoid fictitious fees by purchasing land for a real estate development through his company. Plaintiffs claim Hundley took their money without providing shares in the new company.