|DominicanToday.com - The head of the East Region Hotels and Tourist Projects Association yesterday called the Higüey (Punta Cana and Bavaro) Titles Registrar “disorder and mafias” which creates uncertainty, threatens and scares away foreign investment.
Ernesto Veloz said the manner in which the mafias forge titles of property constitutes an attack to legal security and noted that in a recent visited an investor told him that he took a title of a land he had just bought, but when he went to see the property, discovered that it was located in the center of Bavaro Lagoon. “When he came to me, I told him that it was in the middle of the sea, you must get there by swimming. The man could only say: they scammed me.”
He also told me that “what you have in the zone of Higüey is a mafia entrenched in the Registrar of Titles, that duplicates the titles.”
Veloz said that when someone who is ready to buy some land requests his advice, he recommends passing it through “200,000 filters,” and that some lawyers fraudulently file challenges to land transactions to make them fail.
“At the real estate level we have a spectacular disorder here. When you think that you have valid papers, an alleged title or an alleged owner appears who didn’t exist. There are foreigners who are badly scammed by people who sell them properties that don’t belong to them.”
Official says guarantees exist
And despite that it’s widely known that those lawyers, engineers, surveyors, and other professionals form Higüey’s title forgery mafias, the State Attorney Fermín Castillo Minaya said despite the “many problems” the Supreme Court and the Justice Ministry work to modernize and cleanse Higüey’s title registry system.
He said they’ve been gradually detecting frauds and disarticulating the mafia in Higüey.
The official said the most scandalous case he has confronted was when a ring took 40,000 square meters of land right in the middle of the National Park of the East, where they divided it and were selling it in parcels.
He added that Higüey Registrar of Titles, Pablo Peña, is “unquestionably honesty.”