Last month, the Supreme Court decided that the courts in the City of Buenos Aires have jurisdiction in a case in which the criminal courts were investigating possible fraud and document falsification with, among other, the use of an online platform and the victim’s email (Supreme Court, “N.N –fraud”, August 6, 2015).
The facts of the case are as follows. A John Doe printed a fake ID corresponding to a citizen of the City of Tandil, Province of Buenos Aires. Using the website MercadoLibre.com (an e-commerce and auction site) he offered for lease a house in the City of Mar Del Plata. Upon being contacted by the victim, he sent her a copy of the fake ID and also a copy of a fake satellite cable bill corresponding to the house being offered for leased. She, in turn, made an advance payment using a transfer service located in the City of Buenos Aires. The John Doe never contacted her again and left with the payment.
A complaint was filed and being investigated by the national criminal courts in the City of Buenos Aires.
On the basis that the ID and the bill would correspond to a citizen domiciled in the City of Tandil, the court declined to continue hearing the case and send it to the courts with jurisdiction over the City of Tandil, which also declined their jurisdiction in the case.
Basically, the courts did not agree on the issue of where the criminal offense would have taken place. While the national courts argued that it had in Tandil, the courts in Tandil argued that there was not enough evidence to affirm that.
In a concise decision, and upholding the opinion of the Prosecutor, the Supreme Court concluded that the courts in the City of Buenos Aires should hear the case.
In so deciding, the Court stated that in cases in which both possible fraud and document falsification are being investigated, the case must he heard by the courts where the fake ID was used and where the economic harm takes place.
Considering that while in the City of Buenos Aires the victim received a copy of the fake ID in her email address and that she made the advance payment attending a transfer service located in the same city, the Prosecutor stated – what was upheld by the Supreme Court – that the national courts should resume jurisdiction.