For a brief period, federal agents thought they had shut down the telemarketing scammers, who migrated a decade ago from Canada to Costa Rica. The swindlers discovered the Central America country offered sufficient modern conveniences to carry out their scheme, and put them largely beyond the reach of American justice.
But in 2006, with the scams siphoning millions from American victims, U.S. agents teamed up with Costa Rican officials and raided some two dozen illegal call centers. The raids resulted in more than 40 arrests and convictions, with the ringleaders being sentenced to more than 50 years in federal prison.
But some of those familiar with the telemarketing scheme remained free, protected by Costa Rican citizenship and constitutional protections that made it impossible for American agents to prosecute them. Last month, ABC News caught up with two men wanted in connection with the phone scams who have avoided arrest because they held not only American, but also Costa Rican passports.
One of them, Roberto Fields Curtis, denied his involvement in the crimes but said he knew the illegal call centers were still in operation. "Oh, I know it is," he said. "I know a lot of people who are still doing it."