• Rural bankers charged with P21.4-M estafa case

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    State-owned Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) has filed a P21.4-million large- scale estafa against the officers of the closed Rural Bank of Bacolor Inc. (RBBI) in Pampanga.

    Being the statutory receiver of the closed rural bank, PDIC filed the criminal complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on October 18.

    PDIC complained that respondents Mary Lynn Naguit, RBBI president; and Sylvia de Castro, manager assistant to the president; Mary Jane Acol, vice President and internal auditor; and family relative of the respondents Rico de Castro committed the crimes of large scale estafa, falsification of commercial documents, and creation of fictitious loans.

    Based on the PDIC complaint, the respondents, in conspiracy with and mutually helping one another, misappropriated, converted and diverted funds aggregating P21.42 million.

    “These funds, instead of being used for the bank’s primary purposes, were siphoned off from the bank from the period May 2006 to December 2008,” it stated.

    It also said that the alleged crime was carried out by the respondents by obtaining funds through cash advances, which were covered up through falsification of commercial documents such as application forms, promissory notes, disclosure statements and endorsements of cashier’s checks.

    “With this, respondents made it appear that the funds were given to a total of 168 borrowers when, in fact, none of the supposed borrowers received the purported loan proceeds,” it stated.

    The complaint also cited the affidavits of the former loan bookkeepers, cashiers and tellers of RBBI, which stated that respondents Naguit and Sylvia personally instructed them to create fictitious loans for cash advances and falsify commercial documents to cover up these cash advances.

    The former employees were also instructed to create fictitious borrowers and forge their signatures to make it appear that they were legitimate borrowers who intended to pay their loans, it added.

    “Respondents Acol and Rico de Castro were accused of directly receiving the proceeds from the fictitious loans. Findings of the investigation showed that the large scale estafa and misappropriation of funds were undertaken in all three banking units of RBBI,” the PDIC complaint noted.

    The Rural Bank of Bacolor was under PDIC receivership on January 8, 2009. The bank had three banking units located in Bacolor, Madapdap and Sindalan, Pampanga.

    Meanwhile, PDIC said that it continues to pursue legal actions against bank officials and personnel who have been found to have engaged in unsafe and unsound banking practices, which pose grave threats to the stability of the country’s banking system.

    As co-regulator of banks, deposit insurer and receiver/liquidator of closed banks, the PDIC is authorized to conduct investigations and file necessary cases against erring bank officials and unscrupulous individuals.

    “The pursuit for justice against erring bank owners, officers and employees is an important undertaking of PDIC to protect the Deposit Insurance Fund, PDIC’s funding source for payment of insured deposits, as well as to maintain financial stability,” it said.

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