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Filipino tourist jailed 2 years for bogus US$500 billion gold certificates

02 October 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao

The legendary Marcos treasure was again cited as the source of a fake US$500 billion bank certificate

A Filipino tourist convicted of trying to pass off a fake gold certificate for US$500 billion as genuine at HSBC a year ago was ordered jailed for two years by a District Court judge today, Oct 2.

David Morano Jr, who was described as a president of a construction company in Davao City, was found guilty of using a false instrument by Judge David Dufton after a trial that lasted six days.

Morano arrived in Hong Kong with a male companion on Oct 28 last year and presented the fake documents to the HSBC headquarters in Central the next day, in an attempt to check their authenticity.

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An alert bank staff showed the certificates to her boss, who in turn called the police. The bank manager said the certificates were not printed in the standard layout of HSBC documents and did not have the correct name of the bank.

Morano’s companion disappeared when police arrived and his identity was never known.

Judge Dufton said that had the HSBC staff not detected that the bank instruments were bogus, the bank would have lost a huge amount of money.

Morano claimed that the certificates were given to him by the deposed Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos to fund his own humanitarian projects. But it was not clear why he had kept them for more than three decades since they were issued.
The instruments consisted of an HSBC deposit receipt for US$500 billion gold certificates in the name of Morano supposedly issued by the bank on Jun 12, 1983, four HSBC cards bearing his name and 12 documents certifying he owns the gold certificates.

The judge said the documents were forged letters from the United Nations, the United States government, the IMF-World Bank and other institutions certifying that Morano owned the gold certificates.

Dufton cited that in similar previous convictions for attempts to pass off fake bank instruments as genuine, the sentence was four and a half years.
He said he considered the fact that Morano came to Hong Kong purposely to commit the offense, which involved a huge amount of money, and that he brought with him other forged documents.

The judge said he also considered the convict’s clear record in Hong Kong and his good behavior while in detention. He said he was sentencing him to three years but discounted it by a year.    

After the judge left the courtroom, Morano’s counsel told him he should be released by Oct 28 next year, counting the 11 months he has already served in prison.

The reason for the judgment was read to Morano in another courtroom by a Tagalog interpreter before Dufton called the parties to his court,.

In mitigation, Hemmings said Morano was president of a construction company in Davao, a widower who has two daughters aged 11 and 12.

When Dufton asked who was looking after his daughters, the lawyer said they were now in the care of the defendant’s sister.


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