Cancun, Q.R. — Two former employees of the municipality of the City of Benito Juárez have been captured on video surveillance allegedly extorting a Cancun business owner.
The pair were recorded at Las Torres Malecón Américas where they posed as two false inspectors. The two, who once did work as inspectors for the city of Cancun, are posing as current employees and have been said to be asking for money in return for not shutting down a business.
They are operating as false inspectors, visiting business representatives and demanding to see paperwork. They then proceed to claim irregularities with the operating license, which is when they ask for money in exchange for not closing the business.
The video was released a few hours after the Directorate of Inspection announced an update to the city’s identification bagdes and vests, of which these two apparently do not have.
Andrea Cecilia Peralta Erales, head of the Cancun Inspection Office, confirmed they are aware of the pair passing themselves off as inspectors with the intent of extorting business owners.
Andrea Cecilia Peralta Erales says they are aware of the extortion attempts and are asking people not to be intimidated and, above all, not to give money to those calling themselves an inspector. She says they are asking for between 5,000 and 10,000 peso to not close a business.
“Some time ago they worked with us, but not anymore,” she says explaining “They are José Luis Espinosa and Abel Gutiérrez. Business owners and even other inspectors have seen them. We know they are asking for extortion, but they stopped working with us in 2017,” she added.
“We had 12 complaints until last week. We ask people to support us with data. Sometimes they do not do it out of fear. If the inspectors do not have a vest with a name and no current identification, they are not inspectors,” she explained.
Due to the previous complaints, the department made the updates to their official credentials, which are now personalized.
“The vests now come with the name of the inspector, the position and the logos of the municipality,” the official said.
She says that “The credentials are a little larger and hang from the neck. They have the employee’s name and their validity. It is important that they check the validity, which is six months, to avoid this issue of false inspectors.”
The unit has around 65 inspectors. Peralta Erales says for those who go to a businesses without the new vests and identification, it means they are not part of the city’s current inspection team.