THE Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor has indicted a Norwegian national who allegedly duped five job applicants into a non-existing employment in his country in 2015.

Prosecutor Alex Gabud found evidence to charge James Daniel Sigvathsen with estafa and illegal recruitment in large scale.

“Evidently, James is not licensed or authorized to recruit workers for employment abroad… and he failed to reimburse expenses incurred by the complainant,” read Gabud’s resolution.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by job applicants Kristine Cyrile Toledo, Irish Marie Hipolito, Jeffany Anne Rabaya, Ryan Philip Lim and Francis Joseph Bitoon.

They accused Sigvathsen of estafa and large scale illegal recruitment before the City Prosecutor’s Office.

The complainants applied for work with Sigvathsen, who assured the applicants of job employment in Norwegian.

The applicants were advised to pay between P200,000 to P250,000 each as employment bond. The accused promised to reimburse money once they are in Norway.

Sigvathsen told the applicants he owned an employment agency in Norway. The applicants paid between P200,000 and P250,000. The applicants underwent “language training” in the respondent’s office for 10 months.

However, the applicants were not deployed after their language training. Despite several follow-ups, Sigvathsen failed to return the money to the respondents.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency issued a certification stating that Sigvathsen is not authorized to recruit workers for employment abroad.

Sigvathsen failed to submit his counter-affidavit, prompting government prosecutor to resolve the complaint based on the evidence presented by the complainants.

“A reading of the allegations of the complainants which remain uncontroverted for failure of the respondent to refute the same shows probable cause for the commission of the crimes of estafa and illegal recruitment in large scale,” the resolution read.