The Wan Chai District Court. Photo: Asia Times
The Wan Chai District Court. Photo: Asia Times

A Filipino-American woman has been convicted in Hong Kong’s District Court of “using a false instrument” after she tried to deposit a fake check for US$2 billion at a bank last year.

Elena S Orosa, 57, was arrested at the Hang Seng Bank’s branch in Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui on October 18 last year when she tried to deposit the check in the account of Manish, the alleged owner of Great Billion Hong Kong Ltd, reported.

Giving evidence in court, Orosa’s defense lawyer tried to show she had unknowingly allowed herself to be used by other people for the transaction.

Orosa said she went to the bank at the request of a Filipino friend named Randy Songadan and admitted Randy mentioned in a phone message that he had assets belonging to former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos and the US$2 billion was part of those assets.

Orosa said Randy claimed a friend named Ed Frondoso had contacts in Central Bank who made the check to take money that “the old man” Marcos had kept in the Hang Seng Bank.

She also admitted that about four days before going to the bank, she had been in contact on Skype with Manish, who instructed her where to deposit the check and to give the deposit receipt to Raveen Kumari, the managing director of Great Billion in Hong Kong.

Judge Charles Chan rejected that claim that the defendant had no intention of cashing the check. He maintained that an offense had been committed even if the check was not cashed.

Chan also dismissed Orosa’s claim that she did not know the check was fake before she tried to deposit it, adding that any adult with a business sense would know it was a forgery.

The defendant, who graduated with a BS Management degree at San Francisco State University, was born in the Philippines and migrated to the US with parents at age 5. She had become a US citizen.

Judge Chan set the sentencing for November 2 pending a background report. She was remanded in custody until then.