BSP finally files charges vs Legacy owner

Posted at 02/27/09 11:23 AM

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has finally filed criminal charges against officers of the failed Legacy Group, particularly its embattled owner Celso de los Angeles.

On Thursday, the BSP filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) a P1 billion syndicated estafa case against De los Angeles and other officers of affiliate companies of Legacy for the alleged swindling of the public and siphoning of funds from the Rural Bank of DARBCI, a rural bank with offices in General Santos and Cebu City.

Aside from Delos Angeles, the BSP-Office of Special Investigation also charged Alexis Petralba, consultant of Pilipino Rural Bank Inc.; Namnama Pasetes, chief finance officer of Legacy Consolidated Plans, Inc.; Carolina Hinola, president of LCPI; Roy Hilario, president of  Fusion Capital Corporation; Bruce Rafanan, executive assistant of Hilario; Virgilio Odejar, president of RBPI; Rural Bank of DARBCI; and several John and Jane Does.

The BSP said that while records as of Sept. 30, 2008 indicate that DARBCI had P830 million in deposits, its cash position was less than P1 million.

The charges were the third set that BSP filed against those operating the Legacy banks, although the two previous sets of cases did not include De los Angeles.

Last January 5, the BSP filed criminal charges against 16 officers, employees and agents for 49 counts of falsification of public and commercial documents, plus one case each of false reporting and false statement. Involved were the Rural Bank of Paranaque, Rural Bank of San Jose Batangas, Dynamic Rural Bank Calatagan Batangas, and Rural Bank of DARBCI in South Cotabato.

On February 6, the BSP filed with the DOJ cases for 116 counts of falsification of public and comercial documents plus 2 counts of false statemetns against 18 officers, employees, and agents of 4 rural banks belonging to the Legacy Group: Rural Bank of Paranaque, Rural Bank of DARBCI in South Cotabato, Rural Bank of San Jose Batangas and Bank of East Asia.

The cases were filed as BSP's investigations uncovered massive diversion of funds by the said banks using fictitious loans. During the validation process, many of the banks' borrowers denied having obtained loans from the closed banks while others admitted having signed blank documents in consideration of commission fees ranging from P10,000 to P15,000 for supposed loans amounting to millions of pesos.

The BSP also discovered that falsified documents were used to support alleged loans. Public documents falsified included Mayor's Permits and DTI registration certificates. In effect, the fictitious loans were used to siphon money from the banks.

The BSP said more charges are being prepared against officers of the Legacy Group and Legacy Banks.

It asked the DOJ to include those that have been charged in the Bureau of Immigration's watchlist.