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Engineer loses P5 M to con artists

An engineer lost P5 million in cash to three suspected members of “budol-budol gang” who gave him a chewing gum that made him dizzy and unconscious in a hotel in Pasay, police said yesterday.

A report reaching Senior Superintendent Lawrence Coop, Pasay police chief, identified the victim as Bobby Herrera, 40, of Fortune St., East Fairview Park Subdivision, Quezon City.

The victim told police that the suspects introduced themselves as Cogie Suzuki, a Japanese national; Mike delos Reyes, and Michelle Valdez.

Initial investigation showed that Herrera first met Suzuki and Valdez last April 3 after the victim attended a business meeting in a hotel in Pasay City.

Suzuki and Valdez approached Herrera and introduced themselves as casino financiers. They then offered the victim a “business deal” requiring him to lend money to casino gamers.

The suspects told Herrera that his lent money would be converted to US dollars and be given back to him with an additional P750,000 as profit.

Enticed by the suspects’ sweet talks, Herrera accepted the deal, oblivious that he had already fallen into the trap.

Herrera and Suzuki, accompanied by Delos Reyes, met again last April 7 in the same hotel where the victim would hand the P5 million cash to the suspects.

While the three were discussing, Suzuki gave the victim a chewing gum. Moments after chewing the candy, Herrera felt dizzy.

Though unsteady, Herrera recalled that the suspects took his P5 million cash placed in a black suit case and in exchange, they gave him a black hand-carry bag. The trio told him that the bag contains eight bundles of US$100 amounting to P5,750,000.

“Then, suspects asked permission from Herrera that they would momentarily leave the place to get an additional bonus amounting to US$15,000,” the report said.

Herrera immediately fell asleep and upon waking up hours later, he found out that the bag only contained US$1200 or roughly P60,000.

Police said estafa cases were filed against the three suspects before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office. They are conducting a follow-up operation to locate them. (Martin A. Sadongdong)