One of the affected residents with her land title documents. One of the affected residents with her land title documents.

4,000 possible victims of Veracruz land fraud

Case dates back to the 1980s when 36 hectares were allegedly sold illegally

Over 4,000 families in the port city of Veracruz could lose their homes as a decades-long land dispute shines a light on the allegedly fraudulent sale of 36 hectares of land, on which 13 neighborhoods have been built since.

It was during the 1980s that the Loyo brothers, allegedly in collusion with state authorities, subdivided and sold 36 hectares of land they did not own.

The land actually belonged to their sister Alicia Loyo Díaz, who was out of the country when false titles were presented to carry out the fraudulent sale.

Thirty years later, Loyo Díaz has launched a legal challenge against the sale of her property.

Both Loyo Díaz and residents of the 13 neighborhoods have asserted that the Loyo brothers and the state assets office Patrimonio del Estado committed fraud, along with 11 notaries public and land registry office staff.

“She has presented proof of ownership before a public prosecutor’s office . . . but since no settlement was reached with her brothers, she has presented criminal complaints against them, the state assets office, the notaries public and all the families that live there,” explained Martín Guzmán Apolonio, leader of a housing organization.

If Loyo Díaz wins her case the land titles of 3,000 to 4,200 homeowners in neighborhoods including Hidalgo, Prolongación Hidalgo, Vías Férreas, Sector Popular, Reyes Heroles and Chiverías could be nullified.

Those owners have pleaded for the intervention of municipal authorities but nothing has been resolved to date.

According to Loyo Díaz’ team of lawyers she is awaiting the judicial resolution of the case although she is open to hearing “political proposals,” being aware of the repercussions her victory would have on thousands of families.

According to Guzmán, Loyo Díaz is demanding 208 million pesos (about US $11 million) for the 36 hectares, which represents about 45,000 pesos for each of the lots that were sold. Their selling price in the 1980s was 150,000 pesos.

The state assets office has already lost its case before the public prosecutor’s office, and the trial has now moved on against the 11 notaries and the land registry office.

The affected families are considering suing the Loyo brothers for fraud. “We’ll accuse them of fraud, for selling lands that weren’t theirs to sell,” said Guzmán, who said all the families would support the criminal complaint.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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