Santo Domingo, RD.
The most novel scam in the Dominican Republic, in which thousands of those affected by the surname Rosario aspire to receive a fabulous inheritance of billions of dollars, came to court this Friday.
The Prosecutor’s Office of the Dominican capital summoned between Friday and Saturday the Rosaries who want to individually denounce that they have been scammed, but at least the leaders of the clan remain firm in their conviction that there is no scam, but a dark plot is robbing them of the millionaires money.
THE LOST INHERITANCE FUNDS
The case dates back eight years, when the lawyer Johnny Portorreal began to gather the Rosario family to tell them that he was on the trail of the fortune that the family patriarch, Jacinto Rosario, would have amassed in the 19th century as the owner of a mine of gold.
They also claim that the land where the mine is located, currently owned by Barrick Gold, was illegally expropriated from the family decades ago.
The millionaire funds would have been distributed in accounts in Spain, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands and, according to the lawyer’s version, they would have been transferred to the Dominican Republic between 2016 and 2017, but since then the trace of the money has been lost.
THE PRICE OF BEING THE HEIR
Thousands of people – at least 40,000, according to his calculations – paid fees to appear as heirs and also paid for the lawyer’s trips to Europe to carry out his investigations.
The fees disbursed by the Rosarios range from 15,000 pesos (about $ 258) to thousands of dollars, in any case considerable sums for a large part of those affected, mostly peasants from the Cotuí area, an impoverished region in the center of the country in which the mine is located.
One of the family’s spokespersons, Roque Fernández Rosario, told Efe that he went bankrupt in a seafood business because he dedicated himself to inheritance.
“This man with his schemes made us take credit, made us sell everything, move out of our houses, since the anxiety of the payment was so strong that there was no human being who could support them telling you that the bank was going to deliver you your inheritance, “he commented.
THE LONG FIGHT OF THE ROSARY
In their long journey in search of money, the Rosaries have made protests against the Canadian mining company, the Presidency of the Republic, the banks in which the funds are supposed to be deposited and even before the embassy of Spain, a country where they believe that part of the transfers started.
Despite the claims, the Ministry of Energy and Mines said there is no documentation or proof of ownership of those lands claimed by the Rosario.
The state-run Banco de Reservas has also repeatedly rejected having received the alleged inheritance.
Faced with such events, the Bar Association suspended Johnny Portorreal in 2018, for having violated nine articles of the institution’s Code of Ethics and for having defrauded the Rosario family.
THE FISCAL OFFICE INTERVENES
Finally, the Public Ministry of the National District summoned for this Friday and Saturday those affected who wanted to report the scam. Hundreds attended that call.
However, the family leaders instructed the group not to report a scam, but to ask the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate where the money is and force the lawyer to hand over the funds.
“We are not filing a complaint for fraud, but to investigate our resources of our ancestors,” said Germán Rosario.
Another affected person, Vinicio Rosario, pointed out the responsibility of the lawyer Portorreal, who continues in contact with the family and continues to ensure that he has documents that prove the millionaire transfers.
“(Portorreal) has offered us payments countless times and has not fulfilled what he had to fulfill. We want the Dominican government to act against this man,” Vinicio said.