May 24, 2012
A female con artist who had swindled several wealthy victims of their expensive jewelry, was arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Parañaque City yesterday.
The suspect was identified by Officer-In-Charge Atty. Nonnatus Caesar R. Rojas as:
FRANCESCA LIM SANTIAGO, 40, married, housewife, and a resident of No. 30A Zobel St., BF Homes, Parañaque City. At-large is her husband, Benjamin Lacson Santiago, 40.
Investigation conducted by the Reaction, Arrest and Interdiction Division (RAID) under Head Agent Ross Jonathan V. Galicia disclosed that the couple would befriend a prospective victim who they know have expensive jewelry. They would gypped mostly wealthy persons. One of the victims who filed their complaints with the NBI is celebrity Helen Gamboa Sotto, wife of Sen. Vicente Sotto III.
The modus operandi starts with Francesca initially sweet-talking her victim into selling to her jewelry for which she would pay the cost. A series of purchases would be made and good checks are issued as payments. Thereafter, after more costly jewelry are bought by her, the checks that she would issue would bounce and she disappears. Her husband, Benjamin, assists her in their nefarious activity.
Recently, complainant Helen Gamboa Sotto requested investigative assistance. Acting on said request, the NBI-RAID conducted investigation during which it was found out that Francesca has a string of cases in various courts. Among the cases, was that filed by Mrs. Helen Gamboa Sotto at the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 39 for violation of BP 22 (Anti-Bouncing Checks Law). Mrs. Sotto was defrauded of jewelry sold amounting to P8 million of which P4.5 million in checks issued eventually bounced. A warrant of arrest was issued against her.
On May 23, 2012 at around 5:30 PM, by virtue of said warrant, suspect Santiago was apprehended by RAID agents. She was brought to the NBI where she is detained. The NBI is calling on all possible victims to come to the NBI and file their case.