Plan holders hit Yuchengco group for fraud

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PLAN holders of the defunct Pacific Plans Inc. of the Yuchengco group and its successor Abundance Providers and Entrepreneurs Corp. (Apec) decried the small amounts offered to them as repayment for their hard-earned investments, as they sued the firms and their executives for syndicated estafa.

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“Our common aspiration is for us to be able to regain what we lost because of the way our money was managed by the Yuchengo businesses,” said one plan holder who was offered just P1,400 for his P100,000 pension plan.

Another plan holder who invested about P6 million for various top-level educational and pension plans for his family was offered only P400,000 as settlement.

“Not only is it a farce, it is also a huge insult,” the plan holder said in an interview.

A total of 450 plan holders filed a class suit before the Department of Justice on Monday, accusing the pre-need firms and their executives of fraud.

The plan holders filed 840 counts of “syndicated estafa by means of deceit,” 840 counts of “syndicated estafa by abuse of confidence,” and 77 cases related to Lifetime Plans, another Yuchengco pre-need firm.

Charged were Pacific Plans executives Alfonso Yuchengco, Alfonso Yuchengco 3rd, Ambrosio Padilla, George Dee, Helen Dee, Paul Sycip and thirty others.

The class suit is the latest legal trouble for the Yuchengcos, whose Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. was fined P1 billion in August 2016 for its involvement in the $81-million Bangladesh Bank heist.

The plan holders urged other victims to join their Facebook group called “Pacific-APEC Plans Legal Complaint Group,” which claimed Pacific Plans had P591 million available as tuition assistance payments in 2009.

Of the amount, P250 million came from Yuchengco Group of Companies head Alfonso Yuchengco, and P341 million from Pacific Plans itself. None of the money was distributed to the plan holders, the group claimed.
Legal counsel Joshua Santiago said the plan holders’ group was focusing its efforts to “delivering this case to court and getting the justice the disenfranchised plan holders deserve.”

Pacific Plans transferred the assets and liabilities of its pension, memorial, and fixed-value educational plans to a new company, Lifetime Plans, in 2004, a move that finance experts and a congressman described as an apparent bid by the Yuchengco group to shield profitable operations from impending financial difficulties. The company was said to have a book value of P205 million.

After two months, Lifetime Plans sold its stake in Pacific Plans to GPL Holdings, Inc., another Yuchengco family company, for the declared book value.

In early 2009, GPL Holdings sold Pacific Plans to businessman Noel Oñate who bought it for P250 million.

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