THE Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed a Makati court decision finding Rosario Baladjay, the brains behind the Multitel pyramiding scam, guilty of syndicated estafa.
In a 43-page decision penned by Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier and concurred in by Associate Justices Mariflor Punzalan-Castillo and Leoncia Real-Dimagiba, the CA’s Special Fourteenth Division denied the appeal filed by Baladjay as it affirmed the decision dated December 3, 2012 pronouncing her guilty of the crime and civilly liable to complainants Dr. Rolando Custodio, Estella Pozon Lee and Henry Chua Co.
Records of the case showed that from 2001 to 2002, Baladjay’s Multitel offered the complainants 8 percent to 12 percent interest on their investments—Custodio (P3.2 million), Pozon Lee (more than P3 million) and Co (P350,000)—but Multitel failed to deposit the amounts in the bank.
The complainants’ investments were never returned, prompting them to go to the Regional Trial Court of Makati City (Metro Manila) to recover them.
The court found Baladjay guilty of the crime of syndicated estafa, ordering her to pay moral damages to the three complainants.
The CA later modified Baladjay’s sentence to life imprisonment.
Aggrieved by the ruling, Baladjay appealed the modified sentence.
In its November 13, 2014 ruling that was released to the media just recently, the CA affirmed the verdict but reduced the award of moral damages to P100,000 for each private complainant.
According to the appellate court, the lower court was right when it found Baladjay guilty of the case filed against her.
“All told, the testimonies of witnesses, documentary evidence on record and findings of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) all point to appellant (Baladjay) as the perpetrator of a grand scheme to defraud investors of their investments in her company, Multitel,” the CA said.
“Her conviction for syndicated estafa must, therefore, be sustained.”