Real Estate & Legal Topics

Quintana Roo: Update to Law for Victims of Economic Crimes

MexLaw filed one of the first individual victim accusations against an accused based on the new criminal code – in all of Mexico

The new Criminal Code for the State of Quintana Roo was recently amended to provide for a unique procedure by victims of economic crimes such as fraud or theft.  Previously, as is the case elsewhere in North America, victims had to file a complaint with the police and the public prosecutor who then proceeded to investigate the complaint and decided whether to file charges against the accused. The case was piloted exclusively by the public prosecutor, and the victim was only called upon as a witness. The public prosecutor, therefore, had absolute authority to decide whether to lay charges, withdraw those charges once laid, direct the evidence against the accused and ask for the appropriate sentence, which includes prison, a fine or restitution to the victim.

The new Code allows the victim to prepare their case and file a complaint before a Criminal Court judge themselves without the assistance of a public prosecutor. Therefore, the victim collects the evidence and presents this before judge.  If the judge concludes that there is sufficient evidence, then a warrant is issued against the accused instructing them to present themselves with their lawyer within 15 to 20 days of that notice to hear the evidence and the charges laid against them. At that hearing, the victim acts as the public prosecutor, presenting evidence to the judge, questioning the accused, if the accused testified, calling witnesses, if necessary, and arguing the case.  If the victim succeeds, the judge then proceeds to sentence the accused. The innovation here is that not only does the victim have complete control over the process of the accusation, but also, they can ask for the appropriate remedy, which includes restitution of the amount lost and a penalty payable to the victim for the fees incurred by the victim to prosecute the case. If the accused is not pay this amount, then they will be sentenced to prison.

I’m very proud to be one of the first attorneys in Mexico to file such a procedure. My client deserves justice, and she will get it.”

Joseline Jimenez

Senior Litigation Attorney with MexLaw

MexLaw achieved another first, by filing one of the first individual victim accusations against an accused based on the new criminal code – in all of Mexico. The case concerns an American citizen that hired a local Mexican businessman to manage her hotel.  After two consecutive years of business losses, the owner decided to investigate.  She discovered that the Mexican businessman was transferring reservation fees to his personal account, purchased material destined for the hotel, but having it delivered to another one of his properties, buying a vehicle with the company’s money and registering it in his son’s name, withdrawing funds from the business account to pay for personal expenses, etc.  After one year of investigation and with the support of MexLaw lawyers and forensic experts, accusations were brought against the Mexican businessman before the criminal courts by Joseline Jimenez, Senior Litigation Attorney with MexLaw.  “I’m very proud to be one of the first attorneys in Mexico to file such a procedure. My client deserves justice, and she will get it,” declared lawyer Joselyn Jimenez upon exiting the courtroom.

The case was heard in early December, and the matter was finally referred to a public prosecutor to file charges against the businessman.  If convicted, the businessman will be required to restitute to the owner the monies defrauded, pay her legal fees or face two years in a Mexican prison. Which will he choose?

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