Four swindlers arrested in entrapment operation in Mabalacat City

Published August 17, 2022, 10:47 PM

by Comanda Rizaldy C.

BAGUIO CITY — Four of the six people belonging to a syndicate believed to be involved in an online scam were arrested during an entrapment operation by the Baguio City Police Office and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Pampanga on Friday, Aug. 12, at the Total gas station in Integrated Terminal, Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga.

Photo via Zaldy Comanda

According to Col. Glenn Lonogan, city director of the BCPO, the four suspects have already been charged of violating Sec 2, (a) of Art. 315 of Revised Penal Code (swindling) and Section 4, (5), (i)(AA) of Republic Act 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The arrested were identified as Kate Abigail Cortez, 29, a resident of No. 333 Bayani Street, San Juan, Apalit, Pampanga; Mark Jayson Cadaro Diaz, 28, and Darwin Mendoza Calilong, 41, and Rodrigo Dizon Luis, 40, all of Sto. Nino, Paranaque City.

The two other alleged members of the syndicate who are at large, according to Lonogan, are identified only as Clara and alias Nathaly.

The operation was based on the complaint of Lani Martinez, senior sales associate of Alu General Merchandise located in Barangay Camdas, Baguio City.

According to Martinez’s statement, the suspect posing as Clara Suarez identified himself as a buyer of Tres Maria’s Construction Company from the province of Lucena transacted with him.

Because of the trust, a total of P637,310 worth of electrical supplies were obtained by Suarez in different transactions from different dates in the first week of August 2022.

According to Martinez, the suspect sent her machine-validated deposit slip via cellular phone as proof of payment.

Martinez said that when she inquired at Banco de Oro about the amount deposited on Aug. 10, she found out that no amount was debited in the company’s account and the bank certified that there was no deposit slip similar to what the suspect sent her.

On August 12, the suspect contacted Martinez again and ordered another P247,800 worth of electrical cables, not knowing that she had discovered the suspect’s fraudulent activity and reported to the police.

According to Martinez, the suspect hired transpotify courier and arrived at their store around 3 p.m. to load the ordered materials into their car, but they were immediately greeted by the personnel of BCPO Station 2.

During the investigation on the courier, the suspect ordered them to take the said items and bring them to the Dau terminal in Pampanga where the suspect would meet them and then pay for their services.

The BCPO immediately proceeded to Pampanga together with courier for the entrapment operation which resulted in the arrest of the four suspects while in the act of loading the said electrical supplies to their service vehicle.