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More Filipinos claim they’ve been conned by bogus recruiter

04 June 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

A picture of Fernandez shared by some of her victims 

More Filipino domestic helpers claiming to have been duped by convicted recruiter Mila B. Fernandez have surfaced, saying they had lost several thousand dollars in fees she charged them for Hong Kong jobs that turned out to be bogus.

At least five new alleged victims revealed they were scammed by Fernandez from 2019 until February this year, before she was arrested a second time by Customs and Excise officers for “applying a false trade description to services offered to a consumer.”

Fernandez was first arrested on Dec 13, 2020 after victim Arlene Alday filed a complaint of taking $33,005 as payment for jobs such as drivers and yacht cleaners for Alday as down payment for 12 relatives and friends who unwittingly applied for the fake jobs.

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Fernandez was freed on bail. However, another victim, Charito Delfino, complained to Customs she paid $28,500 and Php10,000 as full placement fees for six applicants and down payment for eight others for similar jobs that were nonexistent.

She was rearrested on Feb 26 this year on a similar charge of “applying a false trade description”. It was found out she didn’t submit any visa applications for the applicants. The Labour Department also said she was not licensed to recruit job applicants.

Fernandez pleaded guilty in Eastern Court on Jun 2 to the two charges. Magistrate Paul Yip asked for probation, community service and background reports before sentencing her on Jun 16. Yip said he would deal with the victims’ call for compensation on that day.

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Upon reading the news about Fernandez’s court appearance, more victims have come out to claim the woman had also conned them of several thousand dollars for jobs as yacht cleaners and drivers that were never realized.

One of them, Rommel, said he was referred by a friend to Fernandez around March 2020 after he was dismissed from his job as a driver. He said the woman claimed she had a client in Kowloon Tong who needed a stay-in driver.

Rommel paid $2,500 to Fernandez, who also allegedly used the name “Mila Fan,” after submitting all his application documents, and then went home in April last year to wait for his work visa in Metro Manila.


He referred some friends and his two brothers, who all applied as drivers. They also reportedly paid Fernandez $2,500 each as down payment and sent her their application documents. But Rommel got suspicious when no visa came after they had waited for months.

He asked Fernandez, but she had many excuses. So, he sought a friend’s help to inquire at the Consulate and Philippine Overseas Labor Office if his contract had been submitted for processing. He found that no such contract under his name had been submitted.

When he confronted Fernandez, the woman told him the employer had backed out while the papers were at Immigration. He asked for a refund but the woman didn’t pay up.

Remittance slips to Fernandez's accounts from Philippines-based applicants

Another victim, Vangie, said that after she met Fernandez in 2019, she referred four applicants who each gave a $2,500 down payment for a job as yacht cleaner.

Vangie also paid $2,500 to Fernandez and lent her $1,200 that she had set aside to buy medicine for her sick mother. When the promised jobs didn’t materialize, she called up the recruiter, who said the applications were already being processed by Immigration.

When the applicants became impatient and threatened to complain to the authorities, Vangie said she had to reimburse their money because she didn’t want to get into trouble.

Other domestic helpers who said they were duped by Fernandez were Elizabeth Galbo, Jessica Tagubasi and Neneng. They were all happy to hear that the law had caught up with Fernandez.

Mabuti nahuli kana rin Ate Mila. Dami mo naloko at isa na ako dun.” said Tagubasi. (It’s just right that you’ve finally been arrested, sister Mila. You duped so many people and I am one of them). It’s just right for you to pay the price of your mistake.”

The complaints against Fernandez first surfaced when The SUN published an article about how nine Filipina domestic workers led by Alday and Delfino, had complained to the Consulate in December 2019 about how they lost at least $112,000 to the smooth-talking scammer

They backed up their complaints with remittance slips showing the money paid by some of their Philippines-based relatives directly to Fernandez's bank accounts in Hong Kong.

At the time, they learned Fernandez had been fired from ACJ International Recruitment Services because of similar complaints.



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