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A.M. Costa Rica: Agents Raid Lawyer's Office as Part of Missing U.S. Ex-Pat Case

A.M. Costa Rica reports:

Judicial investigators searched a lawyer's office in Ciudad Quesada Thursday, and this appears to be related with an 

effort to find a missing U.S. expat.

The Judicial Investigating Organization issued a brief statement Thursday afternoon. It said that agents entered and searched a lawyer's office in an investigation of false paperwork. The paperwork was related to the presentation to the Registro Nacional in June documents that said two properties had been sold.

The owner, identified by the last name of Hogue, denied June 1 
Brian Lynn Hogue
that there had been a sale, said agents.

The agency did not name the lawyer and did not report making any arrests.

U.S. citizen Brian Lynn Hogue vanished while on a motor trip in mid-June.

At that time it appeared that investigators considered the disappearance to be a crime to be linked to property that the
resident of Pococí owns. A check of the Registro Público showed that the courts have put multiple holds on two properties in the Paquera de Nicoya area.

This prevented the properties from being transferred.

That took place June 23, three weeks after Hogue was believed to have gone missing. Public records also hint that an effort to transfer one or both properties was frustrated by the judicial hold.

One property has a fiscal value of 54 million colons, about $102,500. The second is listed at 26 million colons, about $48,500. Fiscal values generally are lower than the actual market price.

Hogue, 65, is believed to have encountered someone he knew as he drove home from San José on the last leg of his business trip. The man was planning to make stops in several towns including Guápiles, judicial agents said at the time they announced his disappearance.

Hogue has been involved in small-scale development. The public records show that he holds mortgages that appear to be from selling property adjacent to what he owns now via a corporation. Investigators did not identify the lawyer as a suspect. Sometimes lawyers who are notaries are involved in property theft. But at other times, individuals present themselves with fake documents, and the lawyer is an innocent party.

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