Scammers, bad business and just too good to be true?

In criminal law, FRAUD is intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual. We thought we should repost this story by Inside Costa Rica as it is based on a business that is possibly not doing things on the up and up. There are other businesses that fall into this category in your area. Let it be known.

TRAVELERS: Do your research before buying products that offer "too good to be true" deals and prices.

LOCALS: Don't support those businesses and educate the travelers of these practices. You live here and it is in your best interests, especially if you own a business or property.

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November 18th, 2013 ( A man who operates a private investigation agency in Costa Rica was jailed on immigration charges over the weekend.

Douglas Smith, the proprietor of “WillSpy Private Investigation and Security Services” was the man arrested, and is currently being held in an immigration detention facility.  Smith was arrested near Jaco by agents of the Immigration Police.

According to local daily, Diaro Extra, Smith was living illegally in the country, and at least one client had filed fraud charges against Smith related to his private investigation business.  Local television station,TeleTica-7, reported that Smith had been living illegally in the country since shortly after his arrival in 2005.

The Diaro Extra report states that immigration authorities have begun proceedings to deport Smith to the United States.

Inside Costa Rica was able to contact a woman by telephone who claims she is Smith’s wife, after calling the telephone number listed on theWillSpy web site.

The woman described Smith’s arrest as a “set up.”

According to the woman, Smith was working on behalf of a U.S. insurance company that was investigating a man for alleged disability fraud.  The woman stated that the target of the investigation arranged to have the couple’s home burglarized, and that Smith’s identity and immigration documents were stolen in the process.

The woman further alleges that the man Smith was allegedly investigating posed as a potential client, and lured Smith to a meeting.  According to the woman, what Smith found instead was waiting immigration agents and several local television news crews, in addition toDiaro Extra reporters.

“[Smith] cannot be thrown out of the country because he is married [to a Costa Rican],” the woman told Inside Costa Rica.  Diaro Extra’s report says that Smith’s claims of being married in Costa Rica are false.

The woman who identified herself as Smith’s wife indicated that she would provide documentation to Inside Costa Rica to substantiate the couple’s story in the coming days.

The woman also said the couple plans to file defamation lawsuits againstDiaro Extra, Teletica, and other news outlets.

According to reports and Smith’s YouTube videos, Smith resided in the San José suburb of Escazu.

Inside Costa Rica has had contact with Smith in the past.  Within the past year, Smith had contacted ICR editors regarding investigations Smith claimed to be working on.  After some investigation into Smith’s claims at the time, ICR editors were unable to substantiate facts regarding the alleged cases, and elected to cease communication with Smith.

FYI - Landlines are not hard to obtain and mostly means that the business does not have an office, which many small businesses like fisherman don't have.

In a telephone conversation earlier in the year, Smith told ICR editors that he had previously worked in Colombia, and that his wife at the time was murdered there.

Pressed for details, however – specifically the year in which his wife was murdered, Smith claimed he could not recall.

Several inconsistencies in Smith’s claims raised suspicions with ICR editors at the time, and ICR concluded Smith was not a reliable journalistic source.

Earlier this year, Inside Costa Rica also received email and telephone correspondence from a woman in the United States who claimed that Smith harassed and threatened her after she elected to discontinue his services.

Inside Costa Rica was unable to verify the woman’s claims.

While Inside Costa Rica elected to not work with Smith as a source, some small English-language “blogs” in the country would routinely source information or publish articles from Smith.  One such site, The Costa Rican Times, issued a public apology over the weekend.

The web site of Will Spy has since been replaced with a blank page and an email address.  However, before the web site was removed, Smith claimed to offer a number of services, primarily to foreigners and their counterparts in the country.

Amongst the services listed on WillSpy’s web site were “Check-a-Mate” background reviews, process service, and “Guided Poker and Texas Hold ‘Em Services.”

Smith also promoted what his web site called services for “Gentlemen Players,” including what his web site called a “Chasing-the-Chicas” package.

Each gentleman’s taste is different and we leave the actual chasing of chicas to you. But we know where to take you to meet the crème-de-la-crème of beautiful ladies in Costa Rica. You worry about courting the ladies and having all the fun you can imagine….we’ll watch your back and make sure no one is able to walk up behind you, both literally and metaphorically. Make no mistake, ladies here are heart-stopping, drop-dead gorgeous and the finer ones speak excellent English, but they are all out to scam gringos….we clue you in on what to do (and what not to do) to avoid the scams,” the website read before going offline.

Meanwhile, Smith also promoted his services to the significant others of the so-called “Gentlemen Players.”

So he says he’s going fishing, and trekking in Costa Rica…? Has he promised to bring you back a picture of the fish he catches?

Ladies, ladies, ladies. There are multiple places here in Costa Rica where a man can have his picture taken standing beside a beautiful, 8 foot, hanging Blue Marlin, with a Rod/Reel in hand, with him smiling brightly as if he spent the day (and his money) fishing…don’t believe it. Even if that may have been his intent, the temptation is very strong in Costa Rica.

If you have a husband or boyfriend coming to Costa Rica, it would be in your best interest to engage us to keep an eye on him,” read the “Ladies Only” section of the WillSpy web site.

While private investigation services do not require licensing in Costa Rica, security companies do require license.

WillSpy also offered “personal security” and other security services, by what Smith described as “former FBI and CIA” personnel in a YouTube video.  It is not clear if Smith possessed the required permits for such services, but an unofficial source told Inside Costa Rica that Smith did not possess the proper permits to offer security services.

Members of our team have experience working directly with, and in concert to the following agencies: DEA, FBI, CIA, DHS; as well as direct association with US Department of State, US Department of Defense, US Embassies and and various state and local agencies. 

There is no higher qualified group of security experts, bodyguards and private investigators in Costa Rica,” the web site read before being taken offline.

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