‘Gold bar’ sellers land behind bars
MANILA, Philippines—Two alleged con artists were arrested by the Quezon City police in an entrapment operation on Wednesday, a week after they sold to two businessmen a P1.6-million “gold bar” that turned out to be fake.
Victorino Angelo Cadag, 42, and Christian Castellejo, 22, face charges for syndicated estafa on a complaint filed by Pedro Oco and Manuel Santos.
Cadag and Castellejo were arrested around 5:30 p.m. at the parking lot of the Smart Araneta Center in Cubao, the same site where they had a transaction with the complainants on Oct. 9.
SPO1 Joselito Gagaza of the Quezon City Police District’s (QCPD’s) Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit said the entrapment was set after Oco and Santos reported how they were duped into buying what turned out to be a mere “gold-plated” bar of zinc.
The Oct. 9 transaction happened in Cadag’s car, a Nissan Sentra (ZEP 835). At the time, several unidentified men were also inside the vehicle while three others were posted as lookouts, according to the complainants.
Cadag was able to convince the victims that he was selling a 22-karat gold bar by drilling into the metal and catching what appeared to be gold particles on a piece of paper.
From there, the buyers and sellers brought samples of the particles to a laboratory in Quezon City, which later certified them to be 91-percent pure gold. Oco and Santos then agreed to pay P1.6 million for the 1.1-kilogram bar.
But when they had the bar itself tested in another laboratory, they were told that it was merely gold-plated zinc, Gagaza said in an interview Thursday.
The complainants, pretending they were still unaware of the scam, set another meeting with Cadag, saying they wish to buy two more kilos of gold on Oct. 15.
During the exchange on Wednesday, a QCPD team moved in to arrest Cadag and Castellejo and recovered another gold bar replica weighing about 2 kilos.
Also seized from the two were counterfeit documents—a “$500-billion” treasury warrant certificate and a “$54-billion” investment bank certificate—as well as photos of gold bars and ID cards supposedly issued by the “World United Nations Military-Philippine Government.”
The QCPD also seized Cadag’s car.
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