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Jul 13, 2011

2 title papers for San Pedro land; attorney registers mischief in paperwork

There has been a flurry of purported fraudulent land transactions involving the Lands Department. It all became public when Israel “Pie” Marin, the manager of Belize Diesel and Equipment found out that an island that he co-owned with Rosella Zabaneh was fraudulently sold off. Bikini Island was sold by a person using the alias Satuaye Mejia and the documents were allegedly certified by an alleged Justice of the Peace going by the name Angel Moreira. The conmen processed the fraudulent documents with ease at the Lands Department and Marin now has to apply to the courts to nullify the transaction. Since the scam was exposed, new cases are surfacing. We checked in with Attorney Fred Lumor who is going to court to challenge the constitutionality of the Lands Act to get the government to indemnify victims of land fraud perpetuated at the department. Lumor explains that a parcel of prime property on San Pedro belonging to well known businessmen William and Jimmy Quinto, was also caught up in a similar scam.  Lumor says that the land was sold to his clients, but the previous owner then allegedly used his original documents to pass it on to his son. The son then mortgaged the land and the bank foreclosed on the asset. Now the Quintos are in a fierce battle to get back the land. News Five spoke earlier today to Attorney Fred Lumor who followed the paper trail of the land worth half a million dollars on San Pedro.

Fred Lumor

Fred Lumor, Attorney for William and Jimmy Quinto

“This is a situation where a father and son, Mr. Francisco Nunez and his son, Alex Nunez—both of them who live in San Pedro—sold a property called lot number  five situation one mile north of San Pedro in Ambergris Caye in a place called Rio De. They sold this property to William and Jimmy Quinto in 1985. So, Francisco Nunez who sold the property to Dennis Smith who then sold it to the Quinto in 1985 ceased to be owner of the property twenty-one years ago. But somehow, some way, he happened to get the land registry to registered him again as owner of property that he has already sold. After he got title to this property, he transferred title to his son Alex. Within twelve days of registering himself at the land registry and his son having obtaining property to parcel 5132 went straight to the Belize Bank and mortgaged it for eighty thousand dollars and also got a second line of credit from Belize Bank for over forty-one thousand dollars. Not a cent of these monies were spent developing parcel 5132. It’s still an open lot, a vacant lot with no structure on it. Alex Nunez defaulted on this loan, did not pay the money and the Belize Bank advertised the Quintos property for sale.  How did the Quintos discover the fraud? On eighteenth of April this year, somebody called their attention to the fact that in the Amandala, their property was being sold by public auction by the Belize Bank. They were shocked and embarrass and called land registry to investigate. They discovered that the land registry has issued two titles, two land certificates, in respect of the same property—one to the Quintos and one for Francisco Nunez. And then two land registers exists for this same parcel of land. The law strictly provides that the land registry will only issue one title in respect of each property and open one land register in respect of one property. But somehow, someway, these two registers exist. And these two fraudsters from San Pedro were able to steal the property of the Quintos and mortgage it to the Belize Bank. Now the Quintos have to be fighting the Belize Bank in the Supreme Court to fight the sale of their property. Now, one of the important issues is that the Registered Land Act in all countries where this statues exists, there is a provision called indemnity. Indemnity is basically compensation which is paid by the government to victims who lose their properties to fraud or mistake in the registration process in the land registry.In the act in Belize, there is reference to indemnity, but there is no provision in the law which caters for compensation to anybody who loses property through fraud perpetrated at the land registry. One of the things we intend to do is to challenge the constitutionality of this act, whereby government can cause you to lose your property through registration in their land registry and then refuse to compensate you for losing your property, which government is directly responsible for. So this is one of the issues that we want to pursue and cause for the government to make provision that if they are not going to stop the fraud in a land registry, then they need to make provision that those who lose their property—in this particular case half a million dollars—that government will pay the victims of the fraud in the land registry.”

Lumor says that he and his clients, the Quintos, will return to the Supreme Court next week. Earlier this week, the Lands Department issued a statement on the allegations in respect of Pie Marin. The department says that a thorough investigation was commissioned to ascertain whether there were any breaches relating to the process for the proper recording of conveyances. The department says it has advised the concerned parties to report the matter to the police since the circumstantial evidence suggests that a prima facie case could be established to support the perpetration of fraud. There are two other known victims: Canadian Andre Gervais’s beach front property in Dangriga was also fraudulently sold by someone bearing the name Angel Moreira as JP and Satuaye Mejia. The same rouse has also been used to sell land belonging to a U.S. senator, David Hale.  Hale’s five acres in Commerce Bight, near Hopkins Village was sold without his knowledge and the conveyance deed was also signed and stamped by the alleged Justice of the Peace, Angel Moreira.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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8 Responses for “2 title papers for San Pedro land; attorney registers mischief in paperwork”

  1. Rod says:

    Corruption in every aspect of this useless corrupt gov, resign barrow just resign get out you are a total failure at your job guan guan get out.

  2. Grant says:

    I know that parcel of land, it is not worth half a million dollars!!

    How about an investigation into this Angel Moreira character ? Does he exist ? If so, what is his sorry excuse for his crimes ?

  3. concerned Belizean says:

    This JP is apparently a newly appointed JP politically appointed by Melvin Hulse. The present Govt refuses to work with the Association of Justices of the Peace and that is why the whole system is falling down. The Association does training for JP’s and gets applications from people who want to be JP’s, who want to serve the Belize community. The Govt needs to put politics aside and work with the association, this would prevent things like this happening.

  4. DT says:

    He must be a politically appointed JP with Ministerial contacts, or he’d have been arrested as soon as the first incidence came to light. One law for ‘First Belizeans’ and one for the rest of us law abiding citizens and residents.
    belize is rapidly slipping into “Banana Republic” status, along with the rest of Central America. what next, no more elections and President Barrow made President for life????

    Dark clouds are gathering…..

  5. Mad as hell says:

    i wonder what clean heart has to say about this on all his or her other comment she or he seems to be praising the governement on jobs well dont.

  6. Javier says:

    The Nunez family in San Pedro Town should be ashamed of themselves. A father-and-son partners in crime. They both know very well that the land no longer belongs to them but they went ahead and process false documents with the intention to get money from the bank.
    The father and son along with somebody from the Lands Department should be sent to prison and forced to reimburse everybody who lost money. I do not agree that the tax payers’ money be used to pay back everybody and let those criminals continue to be free and enjoy their stolen properties.

  7. lisa says:

    well we all know someone got paid off in the lands department. and im 100% this is not gonna be the last case of people stealing other people property.

  8. EdgardoMcBeath says:

    Es el amor de tu vida con respeto y union.

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