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Sickly 68-yr-old Pinoy to be tried for US$100b fake check case

07 January 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao
 
Tiñana has pleaded not guilty to a a charge of passing off the fake check as genuine

A 68-year-old Filipino accused of trying to pass off as genuine a check for US$100 billion, has finally appeared in District Court on Jan. 7, after his ill health prevented him from attending several hearings of his case earlier.

Wheelchair-bound Celerino L. Tiñana, who looked pale and sickly, appeared before Judge K. Kwok accompanied by a female relative. He failed to show up in court several times in the past, stalling his trial on a charge of using a false instrument.

Judge Kwok reset the trial to May 11-15 and extended Tiñana’s bail.
Prosecutor Kamlesh Sadhwani said he will call four or five witnesses, while defense lawyer Andrew Bullett said he will secure a medical report on his client that will hopefully be ready by May 11.

In a previous hearing, Bullett said that the defendant’s heart condition had prevented him from attending court at least five times.

Tiñana, who will be 69 next month, was arrested in November 2017 when he went to a branch of Bank of China in Kowloon and presented a fake check for US$100 billion for verification, according to the prosecution.
Bank staff who found out that the check was bogus called police.

Tiñana, a native of Pagbilao, Quezon, is one of eight elderly Filipinos who were arrested in recent years for presenting false documents with incredibly huge amounts to Hong Kong banks.

Just last Dec 30, Brudencio Bolaños, 70, was convicted by District Judge Stanley Chan of using a false instrument for presenting a spurious US$943 billion bank deposit slip to staff at the HSBC headquarters in Central. He was sentenced to four years in jail after trial.
Bolaños was the fourth Filipino tourist jailed for trying to scam Hong Kong banks using false instruments.

However, at least three other Filipinos arrested over a similar case were acquitted for insufficiency of evidence in 2018, while charges were dropped against an elderly woman in February last year because of her ill health. 
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