Pre-need planholders to file estafa raps vs Legacy officers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2009 10:40 AM | Updated as of Feb 02 2009 07:26 AM

Some 700 Mindanao-based pre-need planholders of the Legacy group intend to sue the company's officials for estafa and push for its dissolution in order to partially satisfy outstanding claims of over P400 million.
 
Representing planholders from Davao, General Santos City, and Agusan del Sur, lawyer Alex Lumbatan has been filing claims of his clients with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) since last year.
 
Lumbatan said he intends to file multiple charges of estafa against the Legacy group's president, Celso delos Angeles, and other officers of the company for allegedly robbing their clients of money by luring them into other forms of investment other than pre-need plans.
 
According to Lumbatan, his firm actually represents about 800 planholders, with total claims of over P1 billion.
 
Lumbatan noted that the remaining trust funds of the three pre-need units of the Legacy group amounts to only P300 million.
 
"It surmises to say that planholders will get back only a small amount of their investments," he said.
 
This is why Lumbatan is pushing for the dissolution of the entire Legacy group of companies, in order to protect its remaining assets and assure an equitable distribution among thousands of claimants.

He explained that the SEC had dismissed the Legacy group's petition for dissolution since it failed to submit required documents such as annual financial statements and a list of pending cases.
 
But Lumbatan said it would be better to just dissolve the group. "We want to put an end in the life of the company because if they continue to exist, they may dissipate the asset."
 
The lawyer said many of his clients, mostly retired teachers and policemen who were attracted into the Legacy group's "double-your-money" schemes, were not even issued receipts for the money they entrusted to the company.

Lumbatan said Legacy's representatives circulated in Mindanao pre-need products that promised to double the policyholder's invested money in three years time.
 
Those who invested in such scheme were issued post-dated checks as a promise that the company would be on time on its commitment to pay claims.
 
"Some even sold their land to invest in the Legacy group. It has devastated the lives of these people and also their children who were relying on these investments for their education," said Lumbatan.

Another scheme that the company allegedly did was to issue certificates attesting that it has invested the investors' money into a certain firm with a promise that the Legacy group would buy back the certificate at double the price of what was invested.

"The scheme was only discovered after claimants found out that the checks issued to them had bounced," said Lumbatan.