Yes, this blog is mostly shut down, as I am now working full-time. I’m just updating some old stories. Please note that this is just my personal research and thoughts, no connection to my employer.
Maybe you remember Arevenca. It’s mostly a guy named Francisco González, with a few colleagues and family members. Using the name of a defunct sandlot on the coast of Venezuela, Arenera de Venezuela CA, he pulled a series of big, long cons over the last decade. They include:
I first covered Arevenca here and I wrote about it in Vice and CJR.
As you can read in the Vice story, González and a string of accomplices — some of them apparently themselves victims of the deception — hit a home run with the Díaz family in Puerto Rico, extracting US$7.8 million for a nonexistent shipment of asphalt. The Díaz family has been going after him for years in Aruba, Puerto Rico and Spain. A month ago, after González failed to show up to court in Spain too many times, the court issued this arrest warrant:
Soon, Venezuelan authorities arrested him for possible extradition to Spain.
After a few relatively quiet years, González had just recently popped up again. First, the Arevenca Bank website was redesigned.
And then there was this letter to Venezuelan Trade Minister Jesús Farías, offering Arevenca’s British Virgin Islands corporation as a source of US$10 billion in financing for food imports to Venezuela.
In addition to all of this, González is also facing legal processes in the USA. And Aruban authorities auctioned off his helicopter.
Whether González ever goes to trial, however, is an open question. Article 69 of the Venezuelan constitution says “Extradition of Venezuelans is prohibited,” and the Venezuelan justice system isn’t exactly a model of efficiency. But in any event, this guy seems to be nearing the end of his run.