U.S. citizen’s harrowing encounter with Dominican “justice”
Miguel .J.Terc is a United States citizen and has been a Dominican resident for most of his adult life.

He was held for three weeks in the jail on the fourth floor of the Ciudad Nueva Courthouse, under a false charge of forgery by his siblings, regarding corporate documents that empowered him to sell company owned real estate, as the legally appointed president by his now senile mother, of a family corporation, which he co-owns in equal shares, along with his brother and sister, who just happen to be the folks who filed the forgery complaint against him.

His story would be a humdrum Police beat article that may not even make the midnight deadline if it weren't for the unfortunate circumstances which aren't unusual in this country.

The story begins when that he was on his way to the US, to spend a week of summer fun with his family, when he was surprised at the immigration counter at the Las Americas airport and told he was under arrest. "You are accused of forgery and trying to take the money that  belongs to your brothers out of the country" airport security agents  told him, and they proceeded to frisk him and dissected his luggage  finding no money, checks, negotiable documents or any other incriminating evidence.

But his problems had just begun.

As he was being escorted in handcuffs to the jail in Ciudad Nueva, assistant DA Luis Manuel Cedeño Martinez determined that he could be a dangerous criminal and there was possibility of felony escape, and incarcerated him, with no evidence whatsoever, even though Mike Terc had no previous criminal record and is a well known businessman.

After being photographed and fingerprinted, he started learning of the reasons behind the surprise of his life: his sister, in cahoots with the family corporations notary-lawyer, were in a conspiracy to force him to disburse the proceeds of a recent corporate RE sale, stating that the signatures they had placed under several witnesses in the corporation’s twice notarized and certified assembly papers were forged, and furthermore demanded he immediately disburse the proceeds from the sale to his brother and sister, for them to manage, contrary to his senile mother’s wishes, when she was lucid.

The court hearing was set for the next day and Mr. Cedeño the assistant DA instead of investigating if the signatures were valid, and interrogating the notary public who twice certified the signatures, Lic. Andres Cordero Haché, who was (by the way) demanding a huge commission for the sale, made not the slightest effort to summon the notary to testify, to verify the authenticity of the signatures.

Notary-lawyer Mr. Cordero Haché was instead busy representing the accusers through another lawyer of his employment, and becoming conspicuously absent to certify whether the signatures were made in his presence, even when officially summoned later, which he also did not show up.

And then comes the second surprise, the judge, based on just hearsay, and not on one iota of evidence, sets the bond at a staggering and unprecedented RD$20 million, all in cash which Mr. Terc could not meet to get his life back and get out of prison.

The third surprise

Mr. Terc was being constantly and suspiciously warned by authorities to settle, post bail or he will be moved to the nightmarish “La Victoria” prison compound. After a lengthy appeal, bail was kept at the same $20 million, but now with acceptance of an insurance policy, that translated to paying RD$2,000,000 plus for insurance premiums.

After spending over 21 days in a Dominican jail, along with common hardened criminals, Mr. Terc decided, even after an independent certification was made by an handwriting expert, that concluded there was no forgery involved, that his life must go on and reluctantly agreed, pressured by promises of delays and more jail time, to a distribution of the proceeds of the sale, to the shareholders, paying all lawyers involved including the accusers, and allowing the sale of remaining company real estate at 50% of the real value to his sister, as well paying a considerable and undeserved commission to the notary public who was behind all this. His accusers then dismissed and withdrew the charges after receiving the ransom payments, certified that the signatures where real, and that Mr. Terc was acting under his legally appointed powers and his record was officially cleared, after much foot dragging weeks later.

The message from his story is that foreigners, especially US citizens, should be wary of doing any business in the Dominican Republic, where the legal rights of residents and citizens alike, have no value, and are not protected by laws.



16 comment(s)
Written by: gmiller261, 19 Aug 2010 12:17 PM
From: United States

Buried in the bowels of DT.

What a bunch of cockroaches. You Dominicans should be so proud of your Justice system and how it makes ALL of you look like corrupt scum bags.

May they burn in hell when Karma comes a knocking.

Written by: Juango, 19 Aug 2010 2:31 PM
From: United States, far S. Florida (formerly Santo Domingo)
I ask again, Why would anyone wish to have RE assets in the DR, when it is a known fact that fraud and corruption exist at all levels of Justice? Your holdings (in your name or in a Company name) can always be claimed by others, and at the very least, make life a challenge. Not worth the headaches ! If a powerful (with money) person wants your property, they can tie you up in court hearings for many months, if not years. Your lawyer will love it, as he will be making money all along representing you. No thanks, not my cup of tea !!
Written by: Juango, 19 Aug 2010 3:18 PM
From: United States, far S. Florida (formerly Santo Domingo)
Thank you Jorge for publishing reports such as these, which we rarely ever see in the national print/online media. Keep up the good work DT.
Written by: synapse, 19 Aug 2010 4:33 PM
From: United States

This cold reality should be posted at all the Airports warning "all people" that the DR is institutionally corrupt and without justice as understood in civilized countries. Travel warnings and advisories should be noted by all embassies and airlines that the country is still in the dark ages. Once tourism and foreign investment cease, this country might be worth visiting and or investing in.
Written by: gmiller261, 19 Aug 2010 5:00 PM
From: United States

Written by: Blutarsky, 19 Aug 2010 5:10 PM
From: Dominican Republic, Barbacoa Samana in the Hills
Mikey I sympathize with your story BUT !......Gringos getting bent over is old news ....Should not have trusted them
Written by: trojanman, 20 Aug 2010 1:12 AM
From: Canada
I have a message for you......DA Luis Manuel Cedeño Martinez. If i ever find out that you are in Canada....you will NEVER make it back to your low-life stinking, rotten country. Usted entiende! ... QUE MIERDA LA CABEZA!!!
Written by: SunshineState, 21 Aug 2010 5:15 PM
From: United States
I will make a donation for the head of the stupid ass corrupt, assistant DA Luis Manuel Cedeño Martinez. People like this guy should be hang in the middle of the jail in Ciudad Nueva, con el resto de sus delinquentes. Don't trust any dominican in charge of any justice system or goverment possition they are all bunch of LADRONES.
Written by: lovingit, 23 Aug 2010 11:40 AM
From: United States, Delaware

I understand that the DA probably sold himself off to do this harm to this gentleman, but I have numerous times mentioned to you that there is no need to insult the population as a whole.

Remember, the master minds behind this were his siblings, they are the real roches for the conspirancy against their own brother.
Written by: Rainman, 23 Aug 2010 12:03 PM
From: United States
The sad part in all this is that it happens more often than it is reported and when it is reported there are no consequences to the corrupt officials. I have investments in DR and know the system and the country pretty well am in the process of defending what is mine of course am the oudsider in the battle so it puts me at a disadvantage.

I am in the process of pulling out and will never invest there again. Corruption, payoffs to judges, lack of respect for everyones rights, arbitrary decissions, and of course always with the fear of hearing "impedimento de salida" at the airport on the way home.

In DR you are as guilty as the acussing party's wallet.
Written by: Juango, 23 Aug 2010 1:42 PM
From: United States, far S. Florida (formerly Santo Domingo)
Good luck Rainman. I wish you well. I was in you same shoes 4 years ago. It took me almost 2 years to liquidate all assets and "gt out of dodge". The DR is a great place to visit as a tourist for 1-2 weeks/year, but never for any meaningful investment of any kind. Too High Risk for most mortals.
Written by: Blutarsky, 23 Aug 2010 2:14 PM
From: Dominican Republic, Barbacoa Samana in the Hills
Juango you will be back ....you cannot resist ....you cannot resist !
Written by: Rainman, 23 Aug 2010 3:48 PM
From: United States
It just pisses me off, I love the people, the food, the beauty of the country enough to consider moving there and investing only to find out that I am on the loosing end of a courrupt system and individuals happy to take advantage and screw me out of my money, the business ethics I am acustomed to are not there
Written by: legionnaire, 23 Aug 2010 4:06 PM
From: Dominican Republic

Schocking, just schocking, a true pirate's den, just like the old days.
No sane man in his right mind should invest in the DR, a pathologically corrupt black hole.
Written by: Blutarsky, 23 Aug 2010 4:20 PM
From: Dominican Republic, Barbacoa Samana in the Hills
Yeah ! dont you love it ..........pathologically corrupt ...it has a nice ring to it
Written by: travelwriter, 23 Aug 2010 8:46 PM
From: Dominican Republic
21 days in a Dominican jail! That is no spa for sure, I would sue them for all they have and more.
But again what for? The lawyers and corrupt DA's will just make more money.
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