A Hungarian woman, Mŕria Nagy Sŕndorné Dobria, 62, aka “Maricska,” has been flown back to her home country, where she could face millions in fines for a multi-million-dollar pyramid scheme that went belly-up, reportedly resulting in losses to over 1,000 people who invested on the promise of high returns.
Officer in charge of the San Pedro Police Station, Henry Jemmott, told Amandala Dobria had been in Belize for about 7 to 8 months, and Belizean authorities began to investigate her some months ago when they were alerted that a fugitive was in town. They were able to confirm with photographs that Dobria is the woman who has been on Interpol’s wanted list, after a request from Hungarian police.
The woman had allegedly fled Hungary, after a probe began in April 2015 into an investment scheme she was allegedly carrying out on the sidelines of her enterprise, Kun-Mediátor, a now defunct travel agency—a financing scheme which authorities said had not been approved by the Central Bank of Hungary.
The Interpol notice issued last year said that Dobria was wanted by Hungarian authorities for “embezzlement in a businesslike manner.”
According to Jemmott, Dobria, who had been vacationing alone at a San Pedro resort, was captured last Wednesday, December 7, 2016, in a joint operation carried out by the Special Branch teams of San Pedro and Belmopan. She was subsequently handed over to Hungarian police in Belmopan and then transported back to her home country via Lufthansa.
Hungarian news sources, including the Hungarian news agency MTI/Hungary Matters, reported that Dobria faces charges of large-scale embezzlement. It was reported yesterday that she had been returned to Budapest to face charges.
The pyramid scheme came on the radar when angry clients lined up in front of Dobria’s travel agency in Karcag, Hungary, last year demanding their money. An attorney for the protesting clients had alleged that losses were as high as US$66 million or €63 million in a case involving a thousand investors. It is alleged that as many as €32 million or roughly US$33.7 million was raised via the pyramid scheme.
The Hungarian press reports said that since Belize has no extradition treaty with Hungary, a special agreement was reached via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the respective countries.
We contacted Foreign Affairs CEO Lawrence Sylvester to find out more. He confirmed that Belize and Hungary do not have an extradition treaty, but told us that he is not aware of any special agreement that was reached and he is not aware of the case.
The office of Hungarian Public Prosecutor Péter Polt had reportedly interviewed nearly 800 clients and 800 contracts said to be fraudulent had been seized, as a part of investigations scheduled to be concluded by spring of 2017, based on reports sourced from MTI.