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DC trial for Filipina, agency owner charged with offering bogus jobs

22 January 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The alleged illegal recruitment case will be tried at the District Court, indicating its seriousness

A Filipina domestic helper and a Hong Kong-born Indonesian female recruiter said they would deny all charges relating to their alleged collection of thousands of dollars from applicants for bogus jobs when the case goes on trial in District Court on Aug 2.

Marijane Biscocho is facing 27 counts and Lennis Ebrahim at least 10 counts stemming from their alleged recruitment of workers for non-domestic worker jobs in Hong Kong and Macau in 2018 and 2019 that turned out to be inexistent.

Pindutin para sa detalye

At least $600,000 is believed to have been collected from the alleged victims.

Biscocho, 44, will plead guilty only to a breach of condition of stay charge that the Immigration Department has added to 26 counts she is facing, her lawyer told Judge Amanda Woodcock on Jan 20.


Ebrahim, owner of WHT Consulting Co, a recruitment firm that originally had its offices in Kwun Tong, will not plead guilty to all charges laid against her by the prosecution, her lawyer said.

Ebrahim is the owner of the consulting firm used to collect money from the alleged victims 

After their lawyers declared the accused positions, the prosecutor told Woodcock he had amended count No. 26, which originally accused Biscocho and Ebrahim of depositing $510,500 in an HSBC account between Sept 23, 2018 and June 16, 2019.

Pindutin para sa detalye

He said he also added count No. 27, which Woodcock read cursorily but did not order to be read out to the defendants.

All the alleged offenses are bunched together in one charge, “Engaging in commercial practice that constitutes wrongly accepting payment for a product,” which the Customs and Excise Department has filed against the two and will be tried for about 15 days. 


Customs, which arrested Biscocho and Ebrahim on Nov 7, 2019, is prosecuting the case. It is not clear whether the two money laundering counts, which by their nature are police cases, will be included in the trial.

The Hong Kong Customs declined to comment when contacted, with a spokesman saying on Jan 21 that the department would not comment on cases that are already in court.


The prosecution said it would call 11 civilians, 10 police officers, 3 Labour officers and 6 Immigration officers as witnesses.

Biscocho pictured during her arrest in November 2019

Biscocho drew the breach of condition charge for allegedly working for WHT Consulting between Oct 1, 2018 and Sept 17, 2019 while on a domestic helper visa. That was when WHT was actively recruiting, victims said. Her visa was valid until Nov 12, 2019.


The two women were accused by 11 Filipinos, mostly helpers, of charging them at least $12,000 each for such jobs as gardeners, drivers and printers in Hong Kong and Macau for their relatives and friends that would pay $7,000 to $13,000 a month.

Biscocho and Ebrahim are also accused of depositing $127,000 in a Hang Seng Bank account and $510,500 in a Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp account between 2018 and 2019, the sums being alleged proceeds from their illegal acts.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

Suzette Ip, head of the Customs and Excise Department team that arrested Biscocho and Ehrahim, said the victims were told their relatives and friends could apply for permanent residency here and in Macau after securing the jobs.

Ninfa Lumatac, another Filipina helper who worked as WHT staff, allegedly helped Biscocho entice the applicants to apply, but she went home via Macau to escape arrest,  the prosecution said.

Judge Woodcock told both parties to prepare for the Aug 2 trial. In the meantime, she ordered Biscocho remanded in custody and extended Ebrahim’s bail.


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