Subsequent to the report involving Easy Legal Mexico and Merida Living, which was published in a report by Eco Yucatan with supporting documents and proof, Easy Legal Mexico posted a public statement claiming that the report was FALSE and did not represent the complete story.
It is for this reason that Eco Yucatan and The Yucatan Post decided to provide a more detailed summary of what transpired in this case so that the public can have a better understanding of the situation.
The facts are as follows and they are all supported by documentation and evidence:
In January 2020, Mr, Karl Raymond and Glen Allen traveled to the Yucatan to find a property for their retirement. They met Carlos Betancourt of Mérida living real estate, who after showing them a few properties, introduced them to Alfonso Barrera and Francisco Gutierrez of Easy Legal Mexico. The lawyers told them that they had a property for sale. They were told that this property was involved in a legal proceeding that was due to resolve shortly and that the property would be ready for them to purchase.
In February 2020, these gentlemen signed a contract for the purchase of this property for 1.5 mil pesos and paid a 10% deposit. From February to November 2020, Carlos Betancourt of MÉRIDA LIVING REAL ESTATE, the sellers, and the buyers was in constant contact regarding the progress of the purchase.
However, at the end of November 2020, when the buyers asked about their Fideicomiso, the easy legal lawyers finally informed them that everything was ready and that they would be able to close the following week.
On December 8, 2020, the final purchase contract was signed by all parties.
Here are some significant details of the contract and please keep in mind that the easy legal lawyers, who were also the sellers, drafted all of the contracts:
Alfonso Barrera and Francisco Gutierrez told the buyers that they were co-owners of the property, however, Alfonso Barrera is the only one who signed the sales contracts as the owner. Therefore, since only one of the owners signed, the victims would have only received a 50% interest in the property had the sale been finalized.
On December 11, 2020,, easy legal Mexico sent Karl Raymond and glen Allen a bill for the closing costs and the remainder of the purchase price. They were told to wire the money in USD to an escrow account in Florida and that the money would remain in escrow until the closing
On the same day, the buyers wired the full amount requested by easy legal. Despite having paid for the property and closing costs in full, they never received a deed to the house and, to this day, easy legal has not reimbursed them
A very important fact is that on December 14, the funds were withdrawn from the escrow account in Florida where they were supposed to have been held until the closing. The money was transferred to a bank account in Mexico belonging to Easy legal Mexico SCP and converted into pesos.
In January of 2021, the victims´ contractor contacted easy legal and Carlos Betancourt asking for the deed which was needed to obtain construction permits from the city. Easy legal told the contractor that they were waiting on the documents from the court.
From January through May of 2021, the victims contacted easy legal and Carlos Betancourt on numerous occasions requesting their deed and fideicommissa. And each time, they were given the runaround or excuses such as “We will have them soon”, “the courts are delayed”, “we are going to meet with the judge who will give us the documents”, or they simply ignored the emails.
At the end of May 2021, there was little communication from Carlos Betancourt and the easy legal lawyers. Concerned about the situation, Karl and Glenn became suspicious and hired an attorney, Javier Quezada.
In July of 2021, attorney Quezada requested copies of the file from the then-lawyer for easy legal, Gabriel Novo. He was told that he could not review the file because it was at the notary´s office.
Their lawyer was also given the run around by easy legal as they would not show him his clients’ files. When he was finally able to review the file, he discovered various irregularities which were of concern.
The most concerning was that Alfonso Barrera and Francisco Gutierrez were not the legal owners of the property in question. And that the property was involved in a legal process where they claimed that the owner, Guadalupe aguilar yam, owed them $700,000 pesos. And, that for her failure to repay this alleged loan, they were requesting to be awarded her property valued at 1.5 mil pesos.
In these types of proceedings, the respondents, ms yam in this case, have to be personally served with a notice of the lawsuit and given the opportunity to defend against it. The complainants have to provide the court with a valid address for the respondent. In this case, the court attempted to notify ms Guadalupe Aguilar yam twice at the address provided by easy legal in their lawsuit. On both occasions, easy legal provided the address of Carlos Betancourt’s ex-wife as ms Guadalupe Aguilar yam’s official address.
The person who accepted service for ms Guadalupe Aguilar yam on the first attempt at service was Carlos Betancourt at a house owned by his then-wife Lisbeth Marmolejo. He told the process server that ms yam was his aunt. The person who accepted service for ms yam on the second attempt was Lisbeth Marmolejo at her home. She also claimed that ms Aguilar yam was her aunt.
There is no evidence that Guadalupe is the aunt of Carlos Betancourt or Lizbeth Marmolejo, or that she lived with them, or even knew them. To this day, all attempts to locate ms Aguilar yam have failed.
The victims have spent a lot of resources attempting to locate ms Guadalupe Aguilar yam to determine the validity of the real estate transaction.
Ms. Guadalupe Aguilar yam never appeared in court to defend her property rights because she never received notice. Easy legal, through their lawyer Gabriel Novo, convinced the court that this fraudulent notice was adequate and obtained the property by default due to Ms. Yam´s failure to appear.
In august 0f 2021, Karl and glen notified easy legal that they no longer wanted the property and requested to be refunded. Since the seller had breached the contract by failing to provide a deed within 90 days, the buyers were entitled to withdraw from the transaction. Additionally, they did not want a property whose ownership could be disputed in the future.
In November of 2021, a criminal case was initiated against Alfonso Barrera and Francisco Gutiérrez of Easy legal México, Carlos Betancourt, and Lizbeth Marmolejo. It was at this point that the defendants began contacting the victims to negotiate an agreement for the reimbursement of the funds.
on December 9, 2021, easy legal offered to refund their money, but only in pesos, despite the fact that the victims had wired u.s. dollars. And, as a condition, easy legal requested that the victims drop the criminal case and sign a confidentiality agreement. The victims rejected this offer, they felt that they were being blackmailed.
In December of 2022, the attorney for the victims requested that the prosecutor take the statements of Alfonso Barrera and Francisco Gutiérrez of Easy legal México, Carlos Betancourt, and Lizbeth Marmolejo. The prosecutor sent subpoenas for Betancourt and Marmolejo but refused to question the easy legal lawyers. The prosecutor also refused to subpoena the bank records of easy legal to show that they were in possession of the victims ‘money. On February 15, 2023, the prosecutor´s office abruptly decided to stop their investigation of this case.
Fortunately, in México, because of the high incidence of corruption, victims can appeal to a court the prosecution’s refusal to prosecute a case. On March 30, 2023, A judge will decide whether the prosecution acted in bad faith in their decision to decline this case.
Source: Eco Yucatan