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Fraud In San Miguel de Allende

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This article appeared in AM.com.mx The original article can be read here.

AM.com.mx Post: Fraud! They leave without savings to Americans in San Miguel de Allende

Americans who live in San Miguel de Allende were defrauded by a brokerage house.

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE.- Americans living in San Miguel de Allende , many of them retired, were victims of a fraud of almost 40 million dollars.

The dispossession involves 158 accounts of Monex Casa de Bolsa that were emptied, according to a report published by Bloomberg Businessweek in El Financiero.

According to reporter David Welch, at the end of December, Kathy Machir called Marcela Zavala Taylor , her agent for nine years at the Monex Casa de Bolsa financial institution, because she needed to make a payment to the contractors who make her a home in San Jose. Miguel de Allende.

Zavala usually transferred the money or sent his assistant, Juan, with an envelope full of cash. 

Monex, with 5.2 billion dollars in assets and operations in the United States alone, was linked to 10 thousand Americans who moved to San Miguel de Allende.

The transfer never happened, Juan did not show up, Zavala did not answer the calls , and Kathy and Jim Machir discovered that their savings of $ 250,000 had disappeared, “says Welch.

In January they realized the missing millions

When the Machir and other members of the San Miguel foreign community met with Monex staff in early January, they realized that there were approximately $ 40 million missing from at least 158 ​​accounts.

About a dozen people interviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek said that the bank statements sent by Zavala showing the accounts intact were allegedly falsified. The majority added that the bank has told them little since they filed the complaint or tried to reach an agreement offering much less than the amount owed.

“When they told us we had six pesos in our accounts, I felt sick, “said Kathy Machir. “Since then, they have not treated us in good faith.”

The scandal has affected the US community of San Miguel, mostly retired people, and has put the issue of banking security in Mexico under the spotlight, where cases of financial fraud have doubled in the last four years.

“Unfortunately, this type of fraud is becoming more common,” said Kevin Carr, founder of the Finiden consulting firm in Washington DC, and former representative of the US Treasury Department in Mexico. “Mexican authorities try to prosecute cases, but frequently They do not have success”.

Frauds increase in Mexico

Frauds have multiplied in Mexico. In 2018, there were 7.3 million complaints involving 18.9 billion pesos, according to the National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services (Condusef).

The number of complaints filed last year doubles those registered in 2014. Most banks do not have controls that warn of suspicious financial and accounting activities or the behavior of their employees, and there is an increase in cyber crime, Carr said. .

Monex said in a statement that it is investigating the accusations made against Zavala.

Eva Gutiérrez, spokeswoman for the financier, said that they work with clients and has reached agreements with 70% of the complainants.

They ask to denounce before the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic

Some clients interviewed by Bloomberg who reached a reimbursement agreement with the bank, mentioned that Monex asked them to file charges in the Attorney General’s Office (PGJ) in Mexico City and to mention Zavala.

Zavala, who has not been accused of any crime, mentioned in a telephone conversation that she lives in San Miguel de Allende, but declined to make any other comment.

“By the instruction of my lawyers, you can not say anything, goodbye.” Peggy Taylor, Zavala’s mother, commented that her daughter is the scapegoat for the bank’s corruption. “Monex has a lot to do with this matter, too,” he said.

For more than 20 years in Monex, Zavala became the favorite bankroll of San Miguel, a community with which she is closely related: she is the daughter of the former mayor of the city, Manuel Zavala , and his wife Taylor, born in Texas, was an agent of Christie’s International Real Estate.

Almost four months later there is no sign of a possible reimbursement and the Machir have begun to liquidate some assets.

In January, Kathy took out her life insurance policy and in March, they drove their 2012 Subaru to the United States, where they sold it for 9,300 dollars that they used to pay the builders of their property in Mexico.

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