Vista De Sueños Investment, Legit or Scam? – Esterillos, Costa Rica

Vista Los Suenos LocationVista De Sueños (View Of Dreams) – Experience 100 acres of rolling hills with ocean, panoramic and forest views to sooth the soul and make your dreams come true.

You can live by the coast of the pacific ocean with one of the largest and most private beaches in Costa Rica.

Investors who participate in the Vista De Sueños project will have the opportunity to earn land developer type returns without having to invest millions.

The above opening three paragraphs [a cut and paste from Vista De Sueños Investment  Project]is promoted on the poorly organized and very vague WordPress website Higher Life Estates Inc.  And just a few days ago they published another poor website under a domain name, Vista De Sueños.  Does this sound like the Hacienda Matapalo Development hype?

And where a couple of years later we got 100s of  pissed investors comments on our on Costa Rica Real Estate Fraud? blog post..

If the reader has not figured it out, the keywords here is "INVESTORS and You CAN Live."

According to Vista De Sueños Investment Summary (which you can download from their website) their initial offering is $2.5 million, with an estimated return of 50% on your "minimum participation" of $30,000USD.

Hummm? Sounds a bit fishy, especially when emailing and talking to many agents  that know and sell in that area, the project's principles do not ring a bell.

Thanks to a user (who sent us some basic information) and special thanks to Google search this is what we learned on Vista De Sueños Development/Investment in Esterillos, Costa Rica.

Vista Los Suenos Plot PlanOne of the partners/principles in Vista De Sueños is Larry Schooler, a resident of Clearwater, FL.

Now Google tells us that Mr. Schooler has many business associations with Florida license attorney Anthony J Troiano who was sentence to six years in prison for mail and wire fraud and has to pay $2.4 million in restitution to his victims – ironically, some of the projects were linked to Costa Rica.

Some of the real estate business that Schooler and Troiana were associated with are,  Quadstar Land Management, Gidamon Land Investment, Monterey Vistas Land Investment and Phase V Investment Group.

Google also tells us, the project has been hyped by Russ Whitney's Millionaire University in Cape Coral, Florida. Millionaire University has been Sued For Allegedly Scamming Students. According to the complaint, Millionaire University (MU) "professors" first build trust with their students (who pay as much as $20,000 on these real estate investment classes) then go in for the kill by offering "real estate investment 'opportunities." 

And guess who was one of the professors at this School? You guess it, Larry Schooler. According to another real estate lawsuit in Tampa, Florida, and we quote from page 13 of the complaint, "Mr. Schooler, cultivates and establishes relationships and trust with the students" and then it goes further on, to make real estate investment that principles of Millionaire University recommends. Humm, interesting!

Vista De Sueños claim that infrastuctures (water, cable, gas and elec etc)  are going in – but like Hacienda Matapalo, many videos showing the work be done does not mean it is completed. In fact, one video showed a guy opening up a water valve on some dirt road. There is no homes, graded lots, paved roads, no indication that the land is free and clear, and even if they claim they have a few million in deposits/secure financing, they do not mention from who?

They even have a youtube video House Hunters International Episode about buying a home in Costa Rica – what you are buying in Vista De Sueños is ONLY an investment with many red flags, so buyer beware!

 

EDITORS SPECIAL NOTE: There are a lot of top quality and reputable real estate agencies in Costa Rica with lots of great properties for sale. If you are looking to buy in Costa Rica, email us and we will send you a list of reputable real estate agencys.

 

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Comments

  1. Charlene Murphy says:

    Does anyone have an update on the Higher Life project in Esterillos?  I did a search and couldn't really find any construction updates.  Have they gone under?  Is it really a scam?  They seem to be associated with a lot of get rich quick type scams whne you do a Google search.  I hope no one has lost any money to these guys.  It sure seems like some Christian based real estate wooey to me.
    Ta Ta,
    CM

    • admin says:

      They have seem to have vanish, maybe they got smart and bugged out.

      • monterey owner says:

        Ivan has purchased a home in Monterey. My understanding is that he is still looking to develope the property.

      • Monterey Owner says:

        Ivan and his family are now living in Monterey. I have property there and see them regularly. Not sure if they own or rent, but they have been fixtures in Monterey for over  a year.

  2. This is horrific!  I feel so bad for those of you and others who were taken by these schemer´s!  It is important when buying land in Costa Rica to make sure that is registered and is free in clear of any liens, this is NUMBER ONE…with a PLANO that is registered with the National Registry of Costa Rica and there you can read whether there are no liens and who owns the property….or if an S.A.  demand to see the companies books and if they can´t show them…they don´t own it!
    When buying property you MUST make sure that the person you are dealing with IS LEGIT!  How do you do this?  First of all ask if they own or rent?  If they OWN….ask them to show you their property and make sure you speak with their neighbors…and a well recommended attorney.  I said  well recommended…meaning by various people to be able to varifying everything that this so called LEGIT person selling you is REALLY on the up and up.
    This is despicable behavior and I as a professional INVESTOR (as this is what I have done here, and in a variety of countries) and Realtor am appalled by these people who give us a bad name in the real estate business that are honest, hard working individuals, who only wish to assist those like us that want a beautiful pura vida life.
    I purchased property on my own in 2005.  After searching for 15 years!  Then EVERYONE told me horror stories about building and I must admit I was quite concerned after hearing so many bad things, and even locals ripped off by contractors.  But did this stop me?  HELL NO!  I knew what I wanted and did my diligence to obtain it and had nothing but an absolute GREAT experience!  Magical really!
    I now live and work out of a gorgeous building in what the locals here call….Paradise within Paradise.  I could not be happier!  I now offer my services to others who need help and do not know where to turn.  I am sensitive to the needs of those retiring who just want to invest enough in a nice lot, a beautiful quality built home regardless of the size, and to live out the rest of their lives in peace and tranquility .  This we can guarantee!  If you don´t believe it come and see for yourself like those here have commented to SEE if what someone is SELLING you is TRUE or NOT!
    If I could not SHOW you what I have accomplished with land purchase, home and business built, then I too would say…buyer be aware.  But I CAN SHOW YOU WHAT OTHERS SAY IS NOT POSSIBLE TO ACCOMPLISH …and if you do not speak fluent Spanish, and do not want to be ripped off, then you need to trust in someone that CAN and WILL help you accomplish this dream and I would be happy to show you how it is done.
    bijagualrealestate@gmail.com

  3. jdb says:

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.  The Higher Life Estates Inc website states that a 50% return on invesment is expected from their Vista De Suenos project over a 3 year period.  So, either they are misrepresenting themselves or they truly believe they can offer a 50% return.   If they truly believe that they can offer a 50% return over 3 years then they should be forthcominmg with project details.  At a minimum gives us the plano.  Those of you in real estate and develpoment in Costa Rica should be the first to be skeptical.  There are many half contructed abandoned buildings in that area right now.  I don't see a $10 Million dollar or more project being feasible.  It would sadden me to see people scammed of thier life savings as so many have recently.

  4. jdb says:

    Bait and switch?
    The Higher Life Estates Inc website talks about and shows only a few pictures/video of their eco-lux community yet they offer no proof that the property is theirs.
    Then, they show a house being built in the Monterey area of Esterillos.  Maybe they bought a lot and are building a home that they will sell to make it appear that they are in the real estate development business.
    I have heard that real estate has bombed in Costa Rica with many projects abandoned. Can Higher Life Estates Inc really pull off a new eco-lux develpoment in this market?  Who is investing?
    Why hasn't anyone who lives in the area investigated this project and reported back here so everyone can find out what is true and what isn't.
    Please, someone contact them and tour the property and let us all know what is going on.
     
    -jb

  5. charlitogrande says:

    Instead of slinging dirt,and expecting things to work in CR like they do in the states. Why dont a handful of you that have invested pull your resources and pay the 300 USD for a flight, call Jaco 360 and get a transport from SJO for 85USD and take a camera with you.
    Go to estirillos and see for yourself. Hell, if you are serious about doing so, I will put you up while your here.write me at  ( pipamilk at yahoo)
    Those of us that have actualy taken raw land to finished product in CR realize that there are many "would be" developers that have fallen short of success. And there has been Paragonish jerks….but any and all "un confirmed" talk about scams and uneducated comments only hurts CR and our hopes of attracting solid neighbors.
    I recomend that you spend more time doing due diligence and less blogging. You wouldnt buy a home in the states without solid due diligence, yet it seeems so many come here on a two week vacation and drop money on the table and expect silly results.
    Id like to see the blogs about people expecting these silly results with insufficiant due dill in the states..that would be something…
    Maybe this guy Larry is over burdened and a bad manager..and maybe he had unrealistic expectations himself of how things would turn out..AS MANY "would be"developers here on the Pacific Coast have. But does that make him worthy of this dirt throwing?
    I dont deal with Larry, dont even know him, And I live here, but I know for a fact that he has been as recent as two weeks ago trying to get his roads and infrastructure dealt with. And dealing with the Muni.The man I know that sat in the meetings is one of the largest debt free private land owners in CR and they are trying to fix things. If any of you have any experience dealing with Sentena or our Municipality process here then you would maybe spend some time and minimal funds needed to attact the problem and not the guy.
    I have been helping North Americans transition in to CR and navigate the many challenges envolved for over 17 years now. Costa Rica was not prepared for the land boom and are still trying to sort things out. But the fact that they are not up to par with the states and other places is exactly what makes it so attractive.
    Ive got no gripe with kicking somebodys ass if they indeed ripped people off intentionaly.
    I personaly own a small law firm and we are helping some recover from bad purchases..
    However what is amazing to me is the amount of North Americans that say they want to experience CR for CR, and yet act as they do in the states and hop on the uneducated bandwagon and attack instead of solve problems.
    Some of us LOVE our home here and there are plenty of solid people to do business with. AND MANY SATISFIED EX PATS with clean titles and ownership. But you MUST do due dill and its SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO easy to confirm ownership. takes 5 minutes..Stop talking and start surfing..
    Its not Kansas Toto..
    Pura Vida

    • Don says:

      Charlito what is this Larry's last name? I have a house down past Eddies place on Bejuco Beach! thanks Don
      PS. Great advise you have given.
       

  6. ica says:

    I've been in for 7 years on phase 2 and 5,  flying down with Larry mid Jan.  It's legit.  After this nights election results, viva Costa Rica.  New Ex-Pat

    • jdb says:

      7 years on phase 2 and 5?  Could we get some pictures showing the progress and a detailed map showing the actual location?  I hear the words but I don't see the work.  Can we see the plano for the development? Saying "It's legit' is not proof of legitimacy, it's just a statement.  Why hasn't anyone associated with the project come forward with any sort of proof? To me it screams "Red Flags".  Hey ica, please send us some pictures and a detailed map showing the location of the project.

      • jdb says:

        The post above by ica (I wonder if that is Ivan Cooke?) is so typical of con men.  Tell everyone they have been investing for years with a project and then disappear.  I doubt we will see any links to pictures of this 7 year long, phase 2 and phase 5 project nor will we see any detailed map showing where the project is.  We won't see any plano either because they don't own any property that they claim is under construction.  The only photo I have seen of construction is one house and it looks like it was taken in the Monterey Development, not the mysterious Vista De Suenos.  Why must these con men try to steal money from innocent people?   So sad.  I hope no one is falling for this.

  7. Investor says:

    Is Vista De Suenos legit or not?

    Can someone in Costa Rica call Higher Life Estates Inc and make an appointment to see the development?  They have pictures of construction so something must be going on.  They have raised over 2 million dollars so someone is investing.

    Can someone please go to Esterillos Este and find out and report back here?

    Thanks

    https://www.facebook.com/james.cee.102?sk=wall

    http://www.fotosearch.com/ISP119/ispc019015/
     

    • admin says:

      We have heard nothing. Personally, in this real estate market that in the slumps, I find it hard to believe they have raised 2 million. There is a legit development down the road, a few homes built, nice restaurant, ponds, roads, all utilities in, lots graded, land free and clear, titles on file etc and they are having a hard time just getting people to look at it. And cheaper in price.

      • SomeDayCR says:

        I really appreciate the reporting on this article and follow up – thanks Tico Times!
        You mentioned a reputable development just down the road, would you mind providing more detail?

        • admin says:

          The one developer is http://talkcostarica.com/monterey-estates.html who is in Esterillos and/or you can contact the folks at http://realestatecostarica.com who deals with numerous contractors and developers on the Pacific Coast and San Jose region.

          • jdb says:

            Hey admin, I noticed a new video by Higher Life Estates Inc (Ivan Cooke filmed it and narrates) and it is obvious that the house being constructed is in Monterey Estates.  Did Higher Life Estates Inc purchase the Monterey Estates?  In the new video you can see what is called the "Club House" from the Talk Costa Rica website.  Hmmm.  Very confusing.  We still don't know for sure if they are legit.  Why won't they comment on any of this?
            Ivan's video
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-0VOn2Vnh8&feature=plcp
            Talk Costa Rica site
            http://talkcostarica.com/

          • admin says:

            It appears it is just ONLY a video of what a house looks like being built. Gee whiz, people do build homes in Costa Rica. I doubt that Higher Life bought Monterey Estates, considering we built the website talkcostarica.com and I/m sure we would have been informed of it.

  8. Betty says:

    Hey, Higher Life Estates Inc has posted a picture of the first home being contructed in Esterillos Este for their project.  Can anyone who lives there check out the construction site to see if it is legit?  I wonder if they just took a picture of some random house being built and posted it on their Facebook page on Sept 12.  If they are in construction why don't they post those pictures to their higherlifeestaesinc.com website? Why is their website such a joke and unprofessioanl?  Is Ivan still living in Monterey with his family?    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=457429610964501&set=a.243068079067323.63658.212358565471608&type=1&theater
    This sure looks like a scam to me.  This Ivan guy is involved with Empower Network, Klemmer & Associates, his website that he keeps talking about, COMf1.com, doesn't even exist.  Sounds like a 2-bit con man to me. I feel sorry for his children.  They are probably not even getting any schooling.  I heard they got caught stealing from one of the local stores.  I wonder if the Canadian Consulate should be notified for the children's sake.

  9. maya says:

    Watch out for Canadian Trevor Chilton, in 2006 scammed over a dozen investors in Jardines de los Ensuenos, in Jaco.  People lost everything in preconstruction, he never had a dime and couldnt even pay his rent.

  10. curiousjorge says:
  11. Evan says:

    It is so incredible to learn of how shady gringos come to Costa Rica and feel like they can operate ponzi schemes and scams without any legal recourse.   I was witness to a scam where a gang was selling fake property in Panama to eldery folks via a small call center in Costa Rica.  They were apparently bringing in a lot of money telemarketing, but they owned absolutely nothing.  Read about it here:  http://tipscostarica.com/scams-in-costa-rica/.  One of the gang members recently left Costa Rica after stealing $50k in cash from the business he was supposed to be managing.

  12. curiousjorge says:

    Any updates on this scam?  Did these guys get busted?  Anyone invest in the project?

    • admin says:

      As far as we know they have vanished and we have prevented a scam. We know of no one that has invested. Since our email exchange they have done nothing to their website(s).

  13. Melaney Phillips says:

    I wish that Tico Times had run an article like this before I lost my entire retirement savings in the Paragon Properties scam. I did my due dilligence, including visiting the lots before purchase. It was such a sophisticated scam that it bilked approximately 50 million dollars from their "clients". I did eventually move here to Costa Rica, but now I have to rent.

    • Peter Ryder says:

      Melaney,
      I did what you did also although did not move to CR. Still trying to work out if I actually own the property I was sold by Paragon. Would love to connect directly and chat about options. Thanks,
      Peter Ryder

  14. registronacional says:

    Ask Ivan Cooke to give you the plano number for the property they claim to be developing in Esterillos Este and then go to the link belwo to look it up to see who owns it.
    http://www.registronacional.go.cr/catastro/catastro.htm

    • admin says:

      When this Blog/post came out, we received a nasty letter from an attorney to remove the Blog/post or face legal action.

      We refused!!

      We then got a email from Larry Schooler with copies sent to several people including Ivan Cooke.

      We then asked Larry and and gave them the chance to write something in defense that would vertified the "INVESTMENT" is legit.

      Several emails went back and forth with Larry Schooner, which were all cc to Ivan Cooke.

      Larry claims the property is legit. We disagreed and ask him to provide us with the following info.

      1) Without legal title to the property, no investor/buyer will own anything at Vista De Sueños. But you claim they will own. Explain?

      2) Does the property have its environmental impact study? because without this, developing of a project cannot be done. Basic studies include: surveys, architectural studies, soil mechanic studies, material analysis and existing structures determination. Special note: These studies can take years, but you claim 3 years is the length of the investment.  Explain?

      3) Who owns the property? Is it free and clear?

      4) If you do not own the property, what is your deal with the owners of it?

      5) Who is the Architect/Engineer of the project?

      6) What contractor(s) installed the power/water to date?

      7) What’s the construction budget?

      Meanwhile, we doubted their overall worth of the property, which they claim is around $10million. We penciled it out based on a few reputable CR real estate agents/developers imput – and no matter how you do it,  the most the property is worth around $2-3 million and that is fully developed.

      As of this date, they have refused to provide the answers to all the above.

      • TicoTimesRocks says:

        Thanks Admin at Tico Times for asking the Vista De Suenos people to give you the necessary information to either clear their name or expose them as frauds.  It's reporting like yours that helps people from losing their money to con men and fraudsters.  You seldom see that kind of reporting because news agencies today are more interested in fluff and are arfraid to stand up for truth.  I applaud you guys.

  15. New Video says:

    New video released!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc3wAjm7g1o&feature=plcp
    Ivan looks ike he is still in Esterillos Este according to his latest video, which by the way, has received over 1000 views in the first day.
    I find it odd that he continues to make videos with very little content about the project. Birds, butterflies, and trees…that's all you see.  No details about the project.  Who actually owns the property?  Have they sold any lots in the project?  Why is the Vista De Suenos page still under construction if they have raised $3 million dollars to date?  Why can't I reach him by phone?  Why are some of the phone numbers disconnected?
    Remeber Anthony J Troiano of Florida people.  Buyer beware!

    • somethingfishy says:

      This looks suspicious to me.  The latest Higher Life Estates Inc video received over 10,000 hits on YouTube in ONE DAY!  The other videos on their site only have about 130 hits max. Plus, there are NO comments and only 3 likes.  I bet they have found a way to create "fake" hits for this video to make it look like people are watching it.  This has scammer written all over it.  Do they even own the property they talk about?  Isn't real estate in that area pretty depressed?  Who is going to be buying these lots/houses?

      • admin says:

        Tt is very easy to buy hits to youtube, buy fans and followers at Facebook and Twitter. Most of those hits/fans/likes come from overseas. And very stupid when within one day you have a 1000s of his. When this happens, place like Facebook will flag the website.

  16. where.are.they says:

    Where did Ivan Cooke go?  I have visited the links above and many more links and there has been no activity on Ivan Cook's sites or his wife's sites (Angelina Love Cooke), Chasing Mangos.  According to the last post by Angilina Love Cooke and Chasing Mangos, they are in Esterillos, Costa Rica.
    All the phone numbers at http://www.higherlifeestatesinc.com are disconnected.  Maybe they are running and will resurface in Canada, Bahamas, Arizona, California or ???  It must be tough to run from the law with a family of nine.
    Buyer beware!

  17. Topix says:
    • quasar says:

      It vanished!  I noticed some posts from the link above dissapeared.  I wonder why? COMF5 COMF1 www.capstonefinancial.ca/about-us/    

  18. Hahaha says:

    Hahaha – Tico Times you failed to quote Higher Lifes Estates disclosure statement – "All investments involve different degrees of risk. You should be aware of your risk tolerance level and financial situations at all time. … Furthermore, you should read all transaction confirmations …  All products sold by Higher Life Estates Inc. and it’s associates are subject to market risk and may result in the entire loss to the client’s investment"
    Hahaha

    • ConMan says:

      Yep, that's the typical ponzi statement.  Take innocent people's money but tell them they may lose it all.  Then look surprised when they do lose it all.  I don't know how con men  sleep at night.

  19. Thomas Tusser says:

    A fool and his money are soon parted

  20. John Mill says:

    Thank you for bringing to everyone's attention a possible scam.  It's sad that so many people lost much of their savings in the Hacienda Matapalo and Paragon Properties projects.  By being aware we can prevent others from falling victim to these horrible people.

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