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‘I was fooled,’ says granny in fake check caper

24 November 2017

A 76-year-old Filipina who is in police custody for trying to cash an allegedly fake check for US$50 million last hear says she has been duped by certain people in the Philippines.

The disclosure is a new twist to the case of Maria Ilao Gosilatar, who has been in remand and facing a charge of “using a false instrument” since she and a local partner were arrested on Dec 9 last year.

“I have a police report from the Philippines saying that I had been fooled,” the septuagenarian said when she appeared on Nov 7 at the District Court.

When Judge C.P. Pang asked her to show the police report, Gosilatar said she didn’t bring it with her to court.

Gosilatar and the local man, said to be an accountant, were arrested by police after they tried to cash the check at the Hang Seng Bank headquarters on Des Veoux Road, Central The cheque was supposed to be a donation to the old woman’s Mama Mary 2000 Foundation.

Police at the time said the check was fake, as well as a purported letter by the bank’s chief executive endorsing the instrument.

As they waited for the check to be cleared, the staff discreetly alerted the police and officers nabbed the two.

On Nov 7, Gosilatar appeared without a lawyer and when Pang asked why, she replied that Legal Aid had not sent any.

The woman, through a Tagalog interpreter, said Legal Aid withdrew an offer to appoint her lawyer because she had no money to contribute to her defense. She said Legal Aid was asking for $105,248.

At the previous hearing, Gosilatar declared that she had $38,000 to contribute. But she told Pang that the money, which was supposed to come from her Hong Kong friend, had not come. Neither did the cash.

The judge adjourned the hearing until Dec 12 to give Gosilatar time to wait for the son’s delivery of the money. He also rejected the defendant’s application for bail, which was opposed by the prosecution. - Vir B. Lumicao


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