Estafa charges filed vs Globe Asiatique execs

Posted on August 25, 2011

THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) has ordered the filing of charges of syndicated estafa against four officials of Globe Asiatique Realty Corp. (GA) in relation to a multibillion-peso loan fiasco involving state housing agency Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund).

In a review resolution dated Aug. 10, 2011 but made public only yesterday, Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore M. Villanueva, who chairs the Justice Department’s Task Force on Business Scams, found probable cause to file charges of syndicated estafa constituting economic sabotage against GA Chairman and President Delfin S. Lee, vice-president, chief finance officer, treasurer and board member Dexter S. Lee, accounting head Cristina Salagan, and finance head Christina Sagun.

Also ordered charged was lawyer Alex Alvarez, manager of the Pag-IBIG Foreclosure Department, for his involvement in the case.

GA or any of its officials were not immediately available for comment on the case.

The officials were charged by current officers of the Pag-IBIG Fund for conspiring "with malice and evident bad faith" so that the state housing agency could release at least P6.65 billion to Globe Asiatique under the Funding Commitment Agreement (FCA) for GA’s Xevera housing project in Pampanga.

GA initiated the FCA with Pag-IBIG in 2008. The officials allegedly defrauded Pag-IBIG Fund of the money by using "ghost buyers" and "special borrowers" who were paid by GA to become members of Pag-IBIG so their names could be used to take out housing loans from Pag-IBIG for units in Xevera.

The resolution says that all elements of syndicated estafa were found in the case, specifically: there were false pretenses, fraudulent acts, or fraudulent means employed; and the whole crime of estafa was committed by a syndicate consisting of five or more persons formed with the intention of carrying out the unlawful or illegal act.

"Truly, the evidence for the complainant fully established the false pretenses or fraudulent means employed by GA which, undoubtedly, were executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud as they were utilized for the purpose of securing and obtaining the funds," the 50-page resolution read.

Delfin S. Lee was charged for the act of signing the FCAs between GA and Pag-IBIG, and for his knowledge of the company’s scheme to employ the "ghost buyers" to take out loans from Pag-IBIG.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lee’s son, Dexter, was charged for his "knowledge and direct participation in the aforementioned ‘special buyers’ scheme’ and was named by witnesses as the co-signatory to the cheques issued by GA for Pag-IBIG.’"

Meanwhile, Misses Sagun and Salagan were charged for allowing the said scheme to take place despite their mandate to check on the transactions of the company.

Finally, Mr. Alvarez was charged for participating and consenting to the plan, especially as he helped notarize documents such as buyers’ affidavit of income and promissory notes. -- Nathaniel R. Melican