Father-and-son bankers get jail term for estafa-A A +A
Thursday, March 21, 2013
MANILA -- Owners of a small bank will spend up to 14 years in jail after they were found guilty of defrauding depositors of P3.03 million by making it appear that the money was used for surveillance and security services.
Found guilty of estafa by the Manila Regional Trial Court branch 15 were Luis Co and son Alvin Milton Co, former president and assistant vice president, of the closed Jade Progressive Savings and Mortgage Bank, respectively.
In a decision dated February 28, Acting Presiding Judge Albert Tenorio Jr. said the Cos channeled the money to a security agency found to be non-existent (Acme Investigation Services Inc.) and that the funds were traced to have been deposited to a fictitious bank account opened by the accused for their personal benefit.
Tenorio said Acme was not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and not affiliated with the Philippine Association of Detective and Protective Agency (PADPAO) and the Security Agencies and Guards Supervision Division of the Philippine National Police.
PADPAO is the umbrella organization of all security agencies in the country.
The Cos were convicted and sentenced to suffer imprisonment for a minimum of four years up to a maximum of 14 years and eight months.
They were also ordered to return the money (P3,032,909) to the closed bank, its depositors, creditors and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The elder Co was able to post bail for his temporary liberty while a warrant of arrest has already been ordered to be issued against Alvin.
The Cos argued that they did not commit any deceit or fraudulent act to defraud the bank, and that their criminal liability cannot be established by the mere fact they were signatories to the documents presented in the case.
Tenorio, however, said "they cannot feign innocence by arguing that they are not expected to scrutinize every document presented to them."
He said the Cos were expected to take responsibility in verifying whether the bank had an existing contract with Acme, given the amount the bank is paying the security agency on a monthly basis.
The bank is currently under liquidation after it was placed under receivership by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. in December 2000. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)