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Jan 11, 2013

Couple didn’t get Condo and attorney returned fee

John Engelhardt

There is a serious allegation against a prominent attorney tonight. A couple from Michigan in the US is accusing attorney Arthur Saldivar of accepting payment, but not delivering services. The couple, John and Cynthia Engelhardt, claim that they paid Saldivar thirteen thousand dollars to process their title for a condo in San Pedro. That was years ago, but today the couple said they had not received any title to the condo nor have they been able to contact Saldivar.


John Engelhardt, Aggrieved Condo Owner

“Over three years ago, when we purchased down here, we used attorney Arthur Saldivar to take care of our title work. He assured us that we would have our titles within four weeks after we paid our stamp duty tax and his fees to him, which we did. It is now 2013, we still have not received title and Mr. Saldivar repeatedly fails to answer or correspond with us in any way shape or form. We have emailed him numerous times and he fails to reply back. So we’re really lost and we know we’re not the only ones in this position.”


Cynthia Engelhardt, Aggrieved Condo Owner

“It’s about six thousand, five hundred for us. However, we know about other people who are in to the nine and ten thousand. There are ten of us that I know of that are in this situation so we’re talking about you know somewhere between seventy-five and a hundred thousand dollars that Mr. Saldivar has taken from us.”


Jorge Aldana, San Pedro Sun

“US or Belize?”


Cynthia Engelhardt

Cynthia Engelhardt

“This is US. And that was another issue. I didn’t realize and it’s my ignorance I admit, that on our title transfer when we purchased our condo for a hundred and fifteen, that was US dollars and apparently if it isn’t identified as US on the document, that’s Belizean. So I’m very confused.”


John Engelhardt

“In other words, what my wife is trying to say is that a hundred and fifteen on the agreement for sale would have been turned into the Lands Department. Yet, Mr. Saldivar collected US dollars from us for the title transfer?”


Jorge Aldana

“How much did he charge you, percentage wise?”


Cynthia Engelhardt

“One percent.”


Since we conducted that interview, News Five spoke to Saldivar and he says the matter has been settled with the Englehardts. According to Saldivar, he intended to get the titles, but at the time the documents were blocked by the Lands Department because of a dispute between the landowner and the homeowners association. He says that was the cause of the delay, but that he has committed to returning the money to all the condo owners.

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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19 Responses for “Couple didn’t get Condo and attorney returned fee”

  1. Ricky Malthus says:

    Allegations, allegations, allegations!!! At first blush, it appeared that Saldivar had violated his fiduciary duties with his clients but on reading further the piece demonstrated that he couldn’t consummate the transaction because of governmental action or inaction. After perusing the facts, I would rule that the Engelhardts slandered and libeled Saldivar and owe him an apology. Is Belize a nation of laws and no justice? Tell us what you think.

  2. Rod says:

    Another thief of this udp gov. Lock him up for a few years this is the problem attorneys and gov. Employees are committing all the crimes and getting away with it like the mayor Bradley who was contra banding and not one thing happened to him or his family when caught but they chance up all the poo people .

  3. anti viral says:

    ROD you will have your chance to do the same when the next P comes into power. For now just relax! lol

  4. Jules says:

    I know for a fact that this couple and others that gave Arthur money for title HAVE NOT RECEIVED THEIR MONEY BACK AS OF YET. This has been ongoing for three years!! The title of this article is not correct, it should read “COUPLE DIDN’T GET TITLE AND STILL WAITING FOR FEE TO BE RETURNED”. There is true facts about the ALLEGATIONS and many people can prove it. There will be more Condo owners going to the news if this man does not return their money.

  5. Al says:

    I have one question and pleae can someone answer. Is there one honest man left in the country that can give some hope to the people?

  6. John Engelhardt says:

    First of all the news article should read couple didn’t get title and attorney has not returned fees. If you want the facts go to the horse,read the interview and don’t base your comments based on a title of an article. I REPEAT WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED OUR MONEY BACK FROM SALVIDAR.

  7. Had Enough says:

    Someone better figure out that printing doom and gloom about crime and corruption is not helping the tourist industry. No one feels safe going to Belize. It is impacting property value and hurting the image of the country. Every single day there is something. Your latest shot in the foot for tourists was about the honeymooners mugging,”Come to San Pedro to get married and beaten up, but don’t worry the mayor will have lunch with you.” You are painting a scary picture of the Isle Bonita. No one will want to vacation there any more , why should any one invest in Belize, buy property start a business or feel safe walking down the street when the news papers are filled with crime and murder. It needs to get fixed now so you can tell the world it is safe to take your family there again.

  8. Hotel Owner says:

    I dealt with John Engelhardt. He is a con artist and scammed my hotel out of thousands of dollars. I am very glad he got back some of his own medicine. I hope the crook does not get back a penny.

  9. blvnjah says:

    why did it take them going to the media after all these years to get resolution. if it was as saldivar said, simple communication and response to their querries would have solved this problem

  10. dunfedup says:

    Ricky; but why do they have go to the media first to get things moving? Seems all other efforts fell on deaf ears. Did Channel 5 check with the Engelhardts if indeed the case has been settled. Either way, no apology necessary as he did not fulfill his duty.

  11. Seletar says:

    Malthus, I don’t fully agree with you. It’s true that the allegations of the victims have not been proved in court, but the same can be said about Saldivar’s defense. It is only his word that the transaction was blocked by some dispute beyond his control.

    But it has also been reported that he was charging in US dollars amounts that should gave been paid in Belizean dollars, in other words, OVERCHARGING by 100%. He hasn’t denied that.

    The delay was 4 years, with no “explanation” until now. That is unconscionable.

    He didn’t agree to return the money until now, years later.

    He allegedly has multiple clients who were similarly victimized.

    If he held the deposits in trust, as required, it would be a simple matter immediately to return all of the money. If he has spent it, that would be a fiduciary breach.

    There’s plenty of smoke here, so don’t send the Fire Department home so quickly.

    The eminent barrister has been defending the cartels for years, and they chose him for good reasons and are comfortable with him, and they aren’t known for good ethics. Wouldn’t that make you squeamish if he were holding your cash?

  12. egghead says:

    Ricky, if you read the story you will see that these people couldn’t get in touch with this attorney for over a year. I too will be very concerned if it was my money. The attorney was hiding something and got caught in the cookie jar probably charging people the amount in US dollars instead of BZE dollars. You want to bet that there will be future complain about this type of situation with this attorney? Almost everyone with power in my country is trying to be a crook. Peace

  13. Buju says:

    @ Rod

    This is Arthur Saldivar and he is/ was an aspiring member of the PUP and not the udp

    You hate the UDP so much you are jumping the gun my friend lol

    @ Ricky
    This is typical Arthur he did the same thing to many other couples. For arguement sake let say he can not get the strata title he could have at least relayed this message to this couple and refund their money or have some sort of communication with them. Instead he made himself look like a crook and ignored the people when they paid him already!

    Put it this way say you paid $1000 for a parcel of land at Harmonyville with Petillo and for three years you haven’t heard anything and you have not gotten your title and you exhausted all your options to reach Mr Petillo and you last option was to come to the media
    Would you think it would be fair for Petillo to say that Ricky is slandering???

    Just trying to put things in lame man’s terms!

    Arthur just give they people back they money and save the li bit reputation you have left

  14. b.Jones says:

    Ricky, It should be a very simple transaction. If you can not provide a service promised, in a reasonable time period, cut the check for a refund. Why must it take years to locate him & then after locating him, a “process” must be taken in order to be repayed ? A responsible business would have an operating acct, if payment is not made to the gov’t for whatever reason the money should never leave the acct, which would able the business to return customers money on demand. It’s obvious that this lawyer is playing with customers monies and in return must collect new money in order to repay old money. which explains why he’s left with no choice but to render his soul & services to any kind/type of person needing representation.

  15. Rum Drum says:

    Rod makes me laugh. Arthur Saldivar ran on the PUP ticket dude. Arthur Saldivar is a disgrace to the PUP and legal community

  16. b.Jones says:

    ***correction**** a responsible business would keep the customers m
    onies in an Escrow acct.

  17. ceo says:

    Who can be trusted down there?

  18. Disown mi country says:

    How can you be so naive? As a realtor for many years in the US, that is not the way you do business. Regardless of the situation,it is your duty as the buyer or seller’s representative to keep in touch and update them. No excuse. His intensions were not good.

  19. LifeinParadise says:

    My husband and I are also owners who paid Arthur Saldivar money and filled out all the paperwork through him to get our titles. In September of 2009 we wired over $9000 USD to his company account.

    In his defense, it is true what he says about the disputes between the developer and the new homeowners association regarding the strata plan being the reason that the lands department has not issued the titles yet.

    HOWEVER, we also have not been able to reach him in two years! The phone numbers and email addresses we had for him are no longer good. No one seems to know how to get in touch with him. When he realized that the lands department was not going to issue the titles any time soon, Arthur should have contacted each owner and returned the money.

    As you can imagine, it is very scary realizing that someone has our money, we have no title, and we can’t even track down this attorney who has our money, to even get it back! There are about ten condo owners who are in the same boat. That is a lot of money. And think of the interest he has made on our money in over three years…interest that we have missed out on earning ourselves.

    The article indicates that Arthur has promised the owners that he will return all the monies. Strange, I have not heard anything from him, and I have the same contact information as before. Please Arthur, contact all the owners. We just want our money back.

    Thank you.

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