Pyramid queen Baladjay loses appeal at CA
MANILA, Philippines–The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the decision of the Muntilupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) convicting suspected “pyramid scam queen” Rosario Baladjay of estafa for duping a couple of about P200,000 in a phony investment scheme 13 years ago.
In its decision dated Feb. 5, the appellate court’s Ninth Division denied Baladjay’s appeal for a reversal of the guilty verdict, and instead upheld her prison sentence of four to 13 years and ordered her to pay back complainant Augustina Batac.
Records of the case showed that a certain Florentina Bondoc encouraged complainant Moises Butac and his wife Augustina to invest in Baladjay’s Multinational Telecom Investors Corp. (Multitel) with the promise of high interest rates.
The Butacs separately invested their money in Multitel in March and April 2002.
Initially, the couple said, they received high interests from their investment but after five or six months, the interest payments stopped, prompting them to look for Bondoc.
When told by Bondoc that Baladjay had gone into hiding, the Butacs opted to terminate their investment and get back their money. When they failed to do so, the couple filed a complaint at the Department of Justice, which sued Baladjay for estafa before the RTC.