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A Costa Rica Land Grab Smells Like a $50 Million Ponzi Scheme

billgale.jpg
Photo from Paragon's website, paracr.com.
How come Bill Gale didn't want to talk to a New Times reporter?
In 2005, Dallas resident Richard Silverman returned from vacation in Costa Rica convinced the Central American paradise was a perfect spot for a second home.

So after searching online, Silverman discovered something called Paragon Properties of Costa Rica. Its website was chock full of Sims-quality computer renderings of elegant villas, available for the bargain rate of $60 per square foot. There was glowing testimonial and a photo of the project's grinning chairman, "Columbia-educated" "world traveler" Bill Gale, a burly, bearded Miamian stuffed into Rochester Big & Tall pinstripes, appearing ready to assure you he can defecate diamonds at will.

A sales associate explained to Silverman the can't-lose proposition over the phone: Pay a $25,000 deposit, go to Costa Rica to check out the plot, and if you're unhappy, receive a full refund.

You know where this is going.

crhouse.jpg
Paracr.com
The house that never was.
The development is still unfinished, and upward of 900 gullible souls haven't gotten their deposits back, says Matthew Sarelson, the Brickell attorney who filed a class-action lawsuit against Paragon earlier this year. It was a "classic Ponzi scheme," with the scam's operators paying back old investors with new investments until the money ran out. Total loss, in Sarelson's "rough estimate": $50 million.

"Most of the victims were older Middle Americans who were not wealthy," Sarelson says. "Most of them are going to have their retirements ruined because of this."

The outfit, based out of a boiler room in Hollywood, hasn't responded to the suit. Paragon's suspected principals read like a South Florida all-star grifter team: Gale, apparently involved in Lehigh Acres, the lucrative Fort Myers development so badly planned that the county declared it blighted; Stephen Tashman, ordered by the Federal Trade Commission to pay $12 million for a fraudulent calling card scheme in the '80s; and Lyle Wexler and Larry Webman, sued in 2005 for illegal currency trading.

Riptide knocked on the door of Gale's four-bedroom Aventura-area home, stocked with twin black Lexus four-doors in the carport, but was rebuffed by a single word: "Bye."

Jilted Texan Richardson knows his money is likely gone, but he's hoping Gale et al. will be prosecuted. See, he's a big fan of American Greed, the television series about corporate piracy: "I want to see the guy on TV. That's the only satisfaction I'll get out of this thing."


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20 comments
959595tb
959595tb

I have worked for the webmans and believe me it is true Ryan webman is a crazy drug addict and the costa rica land deal was located at 12000 Biscayne blvd in north Miami. larry webman was crazy enough to make his drug addict son the manager to the office right after ryan was released from the broward count jail after serving a year on drug and violent related charges then larry made sure ryan had a salary of 1000 dollars a week along with a new car and a new condo in return for his dads kindness ryan went back on the drugs and robbed the whole office because the 1000 was not enough to supply his drug habit. this is really bad parenting and the webmans are no strangers to the fbi.

costa rica real estate
costa rica real estate

 It is a country that is considered to be safe for all who live there. Plenty of outside investment has been coming into real estate to Costa Rica from outside the country. The U.S. has led the way, of course, but there are lots of investors from Canada and Western Europe. it is expected to boom again due to the continuing tourist influx into the country, the high returns that real estate investment yields here, and the increasing scarcity of land in some places.

costa rica real estate
costa rica real estate

 While coming to the real estate of this place is having really cheap real estate, one of the reasons that Costa Rica real estate is so popular is that it cost up to seventy percent less than properties of the same type elsewhere like in the United States. The cost of living is better in this city improving people's standard of living. And one of the reasons why the peoples are getting more interested in having a property at this heaven is the infrastructure and the amenities are very good and are a part of a big foreign community close to the United States.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Bill Gale and Stephen Tashman are two skum bags late have been beating people for years here in Florida and they both should go to jail.

Chad
Chad

I went to Cost Rica 4 years ago looking to buy into this land rush. Thank God I smelled a rat. The land is overpriced, and every x pat in the country is a real estate agent or a pediafile or both.

A beautiful country but visit it for vacation. There are a lot of better investments out their like pretty much anything. I just feel for people who don't do their research and listen to salesmen promising massive returns, they will lose everything!

Larry
Larry

Just another Webman Scam.Just like his brothers Randy and Melvin.

Run when a Weban say's "trust me"

Carol Cespedes
Carol Cespedes

Just one more scam bilking naive gringos.... In Costa Rica its name is legion.

Bleaux
Bleaux

@959595tb  I also worked for the Webmans when they had that "pre IPO" business. Ryan was just starting to get in trouble with the law at the time and his dad, Larry, just kept feeding into it. Mel was also in the office but he was more the "follower" of the group and did whatever Larry told him to do. This family was born twisted and ruthless. 

Myblackxk8
Myblackxk8

Exactly Larry Webman had nothing 2 do with these two - Gale and Tashman - but the haters are just jealous of Larry Webman.

Myblackxk8
Myblackxk8

Mel is dead ass whole! May his sole rest in peace. And who r u that u think u know so much? Larry who - afraid 2 put ur last name. u loser!

Martyf23
Martyf23

Larry Webman is lower than the slime at the bottom of a sewer. He is a convicted felon who has never put in an honest days work. His son Ryan Webman is a threat to the community and has multiple felony convictions. Like a previous poster said when the Webman's try to sell you something run for the hills. 

BTW: Melvin Webman died in prison. He was in prison for being a thief. 

Spell Check
Spell Check

Learn to spell before you post a comment. It's embarrassing, really.

959595tb
959595tb

@Ryan Webman 

Ryan I remember you very well all you gave a dam about was how much money you could rip off not only from employees who had nothing to do with your dirty drug habit but from your own family spots on a leopard do not change

RyanDeadman
RyanDeadman

Ryan has managed to stay out of jail for a while now. Good fior him. He is still a danger to himself and others if he does not tske his meds.

Ryan Webman
Ryan Webman

First off this is Ryan Webman and yes I have had a lot of trouble in my past and payed for it dearly with time!! I am a new person with a legal job and I have a daughter on the way ..yes I was a lost drug addict and a violent person in the past , but I have changed threw the grace of god and I forgive u for judging me and my father.my father and uncle Mel are two of the nicest people I've ever laid eyes on and I love them dearly with all my heart.god doesn't like hate and if u keep wishing bad on people it will only come back to hurt u.trust me I know.stay safe and god bless who ever u are .

MelWebber22
MelWebber22

Ryan Webman has been arrested approximately 20 times he is a crazy violent drug addict who should be locked up as he is a threat to the community.

Larry Webman ran an ISO, for Gale and Tashman, he sold their lousy deal. He also derserves to be put back in prison. Hopefully the feds will do something with him.

Myblackxk8
Myblackxk8

embarrassing is a 27 year old bimbo who is meaningless per Larry LOL at the eye girl ...

Myblackxk8
Myblackxk8

frig u re spelling may his soul rest in peace and talk about embarrassing, really sounds familiar!!!!!!  

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