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Ex-Costa Rican executive sentenced to 60 years for US$485 million fraud

RICHMOND, Virginia -- A former Costa Rican businessman was sentenced to 60 years in prison for a US$485 million insurance fraud scheme.

The sentence ensures that 61-year-old Minor Vargas Calvo will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Vargas was president of Provident Capital Indemnity Ltd. He was convicted in April on 10 fraud and money laundering counts in a scam prosecutors said claimed thousands of victims worldwide.

Provident sold bonds guaranteeing funding for life settlement firms, which buy life insurance policies from insured people at less than face value and collect benefits when those people die. The bonds were sold based on fraudulent financial statements and were not protected by reinsurance agreements with major companies, as Vargas had claimed. As a result, many investors lost their life savings.

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