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3 suspects nabbed in Laguna bank fraud case; P1.4M recovered

Three fraudsters, including two Nigerians who allegedly stole P1.4 million and attempted to steal another P400,000 in a phishing scam were arrested on Wednesday in a joint hot pursuit operation in San Pedro City, Laguna.

Laguna Police Director Col. Cecilio Ison Jr. identified the suspects as Samuel Nomso Esomchi, Nigerian, 42, and resident of Baragay Buaya, Imus, Cavite; Taye John Bamidele, Nigerian, 40, and resident of Barangay Tandang Luna III, Imus City, Cavite; and Gladys Rias Francisco, 47, and resident of 9687 Rosas St., Barangay Maduya, Carmona, Cavite.

According to the report of the San Pedro City Police Station sent to Ison, on August 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the China Bank, San Pedro Branch, Francisco attempted to withdraw P400,000 from the account of Surjan Singh Kathait, 45, an Indian businessman.

As Francisco was attempting to withdraw the amount from Kathait’s account, the China Bank, San Pedro Branch coordinated with the China Bank, Carmona, Cavite branch for the supposed inter-branch withdrawal.

However, the China Bank, Carmona branch received information from China Bank, Bonifacio Global City (BGC) branch that the account was hacked and possibly a victim of fraud (phishing scam).

A phone call received by the San Pedro Police from the China Bank, Carmona branch prompted it to coordinate with the Cavite Provincial Intelligence Unit (PIU) and the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit (RACU) where a hot pursuit operation was launched.

The operation resulted in the arrest of Francisco at Barangay Nueva in San Pedro City and the two Nigerian suspects at a Petron gas station in San Pedro and Robinsons Galleria South.

Cash amounting to P1.4 million that was withdrawn from the account earlier during the same day at the China Bank, Carmona and at the China Bank, Muntinlupa branch was also recovered.

The suspects are currently under the custody of San Pedro police while charges, including computer related fraud are being readied against them.

“I personally commend our police in San Pedro City and the other operating units for this successful operation. I also commend the personnel of the China Banks as well for their immediate action in coordinating with us which led to the arrest of these suspects,” Ison said.

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