|LA RED. Despite warnings, people with a history of fraud continue to make fraudulent conveyances of properties in the Public Registry. LA PRENSA / Gabriel Rodríguez.1455006|
No property appears to be safe from a network of scam artists who has managed to get through a few checks of the Public Registry and the facilities offered by notaries.
So far, no evidence of the existence of employees in these institutions, but in the last three years have increased cases of sales of houses and land with false documents.
The original owners lost the title in the Public Registry and in most cases they hear when the new owner to claim it.
According to the fraud cases that have come to the judicial inquiry, points out that most problems have occurred in the second and tenth notary.
The Government of Panama had accepted the existence of the problem, but said they are cases of past administrations.
According to records with irregularities that have moved to the Public Prosecutor is prosecuting where they have identified at least 536 cases, in others 389.
On 3 August, the first Attorney Second Judicial Circuit of Panama, which holds nine other cases of crimes against the public trust committed by public documents, he informed the Government that it has found “many difficulties” upon request to notaries location protocols.
“These circumstances crippling our investigation, since this document is used to prove the crime, which in most cases involve fraudulent conveyance of property”, underlined the Prosecutor II.
The cases reported demonstrate that there is a similar pattern of operation of these networks of fraudsters. This is the first step in the publication of the sale of the property in the print media.
Once the potential buyer is found, requesting the notarial certification of a power to lease the property with fake identity cards.
Once notarized the sale of the property, the next step seems to be easier.
In most cases, these purchases notarized smoothly pass the filter of the Public Registry where it is possible to make the change of ownership.
The general secretary of the Interior, Roberto Tejeira, said they are continuing the fraud cases that come to his office in search of records or notarized protocols to proceed with the complaint to the Attorney General.
But he agreed that much of the documents does not appear, complicating the task of those affected claim.
“We also found that past administrations notaries took the stamps and numbers of old scripts that can be provided for a sale false,” warned Tejeira.
However, the official said that against the new notaries there have been no complaints, as the Government takes full accountability.
Some notaries have also adopted the digital verification system identification Electoral Tribunal to prevent tampering with ballots, but they are the minority.
The Press tried to know what actions are taking the new administration of the Public Registry to combat these scams, but there were no responses from their representatives.
Owners face and robbed
The most recent cases that have come to seek refuge in the justice show that it is not difficult for scammers to list a property of others. We also found that the largest number of scams has been in the capital city and in Chiriqui. In one of these cases are charged with Alexis Rojas, holder 4-102-1732, alleging that he sold a residence in Bethany for $ 100,001 days of work such as irregular Ash Wednesday this year. The original property owner, who asked that his identity was learned when someone claiming to be the owner of this asset.
In this case, forged identity card of the original owner of the residence to notarize the sale of land. This was the second time that Rojas had broken through the filter of the Public Registry was despite a warning of fraud in this institution. A Andrés Fereijdo also put your property for sale in Bethania in a national newspaper in December 2009. Fereijdo learned that since the property was in his name when he tried to make a personal transaction, his card had been forged and the alleged fraudster had received $ 117 000 for this sale.
The victim maintains a criminal kidnapping has not been resolved because the buyer also claims to own the same property. Professor Jaime Brid also fell victim to these scammers two months ago. In this transaction used the name of his father, now deceased, to donate land in Penonomé and a residency in Albrook, on behalf of a Colombian woman. Omar Perez was another surprise in September 2010, when a fraudster legalized the sale of land in Boquete de 130 hectares using the name of his grandmother died in 1931.
A very weak notary system
A letter from the Government of Panama to the College of Notaries Public of Panama, on 1 July, reveals that the authorities know that the notarial system lacks proper regulation to prevent fraud in the sale of properties.
“Protocols missing, defective, and no bells, registers of wills lost, stolen books, stamps, letterheads and numbering pages to make records” are part of the findings of a report submitted by the Government of Panama to the Ministry of Government.
The document suggested the alternative of appointing a committee to present draft legislation to regulate the function of attorney, but the mission did not make progress, as was known.
The Government argues that the proposed changes to the system of attorney must be the result of an in-depth consultation with different social and commercial entities involving this activity.