Syndicated fraud raps filed vs Lee over ghost house loan borrowers
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice (DoJ) on Wednesday approved the filing of syndicated estafa against real estate developer Delfin Lee and his business associates in connection with the alleged fraudulent P6.65-billion loan that “ghost borrowers” obtained from the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), otherwise known as Pag-IBIG Fund.
In a review resolution, the DOJ panel headed by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva upgraded the case from a simple estafa, which another panel of state prosecutors had earlier recommended to be filed against Lee et al.
“Indeed, by provision of law, Delfin S. Lee is liable for the offense and… his act of signing the agreements is enough to indict him for the violation committed by the corporation,” Villanueva said in a 50-page resolution, dated August 10.
In the resolution, which was prepared by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva and approved by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, also slapped with a case for syndicated estafa were Lee’s son Dexter, Globe Asiatique’s (GA) executive vice president and chief finance officer; Christina Sagun, former head of Gas Documentation Department; Cristina Salagan, head of Gas Accounting/Finance Department; and lawyer Alex Alvarez, manager of the Foreclosure Department of the Pag-IBIG Fund.
The DoJ did not recommend bail for their temporary liberty.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the HDMF against officials of GA and HDMF who allegedly conspired to use fake borrowers to become “instant” Pag-IBIG members who obtained housing loans. However, the borrowers had no intention of buying housing units at Xevera Bacolor in Pampanga.
On June 20, 2008, HDMF entered into an agreement with GA for the piloting of the special membership program through the Xevera Bacolor Project.
In the span of two years, GA was able to obtain over P6-billion loans from Pag-IBIG Fund representing 9,951 accounts which, after confirmation, showed that some purported buyers had no knowledge of having availed of the loan.
“The widespread operation of the ‘special buyers’ scheme in the company, not to mention the number of the accounts involved which, according to witnesses…are even more than the regular buyers, as well as the huge amount involved as being indicative and sufficient proof of the existence of a conspiracy, and the participation of the indicted individuals therein,” the DoJ stated.
In the case of Alvarez, the DoJ said he “knew, participated and consented to the illegal scheme perpetrated by respondents Delfin and Dexter Lee, Christina Sagun and Cristina Salagan…his complicity, assent and/or cooperation in the accomplishment of the fraud was underscored by, among others, his act of notarizing crucial pieces of documents, consisting of the buyer’s affidavit of income, promissory note, and developer’s affidavit alleging compliance with the conditions of HDMF, a large number of which turned out to be related to buyers/affiants who are either fictitious and/or non-existing, thereby enabling the execution of the grand scheme of his co-respondents.”
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