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Elderly Pinoy tourist jailed 4 yrs in biggest fake bank instrument scam

12 January 2020

By The SUN

Defendant said he got the fake deposit slip from the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos

A District Court judge has sentenced an elderly Filipino male tourist to four years in prison after finding him guilty of presenting a fake deposit slip for US$943 billion at the HSBC main office in Central in April 2018.

Judge Stanley Chan convicted and sentenced Brudencio J. Bolaños on Dec 30 on a charge of using a false instrument.

The judge rejected a psychiatrist’s evidence for the defense that Bolaños, who had pleaded not guilty to the charge at the start of his trial on Nov 1, was suffering from a “delusional disorder” when he presented the fake document to HSBC staff.

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He said the government psychologist who examined Bolaños shortly after his arrest on Apr 9, 2018 had cleared him of any mental problem.

Bolaños, who was said to be 70 and single, had claimed that deposed President Ferdinand Marcos personally gave him the US$943 billion to fund a charitable foundation and was deposited in his HSBC account on Jul 25, 1983.

He arrived in Hong Kong on Apr 2, 2018 as a visitor and a week later, went with a Malaysian male who spoke Cantonese and English to the fifth-floor counters of the HSBC head offices in Central where he presented the deposit slip to a staff.

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HSBC assistant manager Cheung Wan-yuet, who testified for the prosecution, invited Bolaños and his escort to the interview room after the staff passed her the spurious document.

Cheung told the court HSBC had no record showing Bolaños had an account in the bank.

The second prosecution witness, officer Deng Tsz-teng, said that when he arrested Bolaños, the elderly man had 10,000 Japanese yen and PhP240.25 in his possession.
Bolaños at first insisted on seeing HSBC’s global head of banking, a Ms Chen. But when he heard that police officers called by bank staff were coming, he and the Malaysian ran to the escalator. Bolaños was nabbed on the fourth floor but his companion escaped.

Judge Chan said the defendant knew from the start that the bank instrument was false. He said the case had an international element as Bolaños traveled from Manila to carry out the scam in Hong Kong.

“The defendant was definitely not acting alone. Who was his Malaysian companion? Who paid for his fare and his accommodation?” the judge asked.

The amount for the false instrument was the biggest so far in monetary value to have been presented to a bank in Hong Kong and, as in most cases, was linked to the fabled Marcos hidden treasure.

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