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Bank Owner Convicted of 104 Counts of Falsification of Public Documents and Violation of Banking Laws

01.29.2016

Another banker has been convicted for falsification of public documents and for violation of banking laws. The conviction resulted from the case filed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The Municipal Trial Court (MTC), Manaoag, Pangasinan and Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 48, Urdaneta, Pangasinan on 23 June 2015 found Maria Cecilia R. Acuña, once president of the now closed Kaunlaran Rural Bank, Inc. (KRBI), guilty of 1) 49 counts of falsification of public documents; 2) six counts of violation of the New Central Bank Act; and 3) 49 counts of violation of the General Banking Law.

Acuña fabricated documents to make it appear as though several individuals had availed of loans from KRBI of amounts ranging from Php 450,000 to Php 1,500,000. She also fabricated promissory notes stating that the supposed borrowers had received the proceeds of these loans. The amounts listed in the loans having thus been siphoned from the bank, Acuña also falsified information in the bank’s Consolidated Statement of Condition to make it appear that KRBI was solvent when, in fact, it was not.

The Consolidated Statement of Condition is a financial report that banks are required, under the General Banking Act, to regularly submit to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Initially, the accused pleaded not guilty to all charges. During the trial, held on 5 May 2015, however, Cecilia’s lawyer said that after circumspect examination of his client, the latter had decided to withdraw her earlier plea and instead submit a plea of guilty.

With Acuña’s voluntary admission of guilt, no further evidence was required to substantiate the charges against her. She was sentenced by the MTC-Manaoag to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of two years, four months and one day as minimum, to four years, two months and one day as maximum, and to pay a fine of Php 5,000 for each of the 49 counts of falsification; and a straight penalty of four years imprisonment, for each of the six counts of violation of the New Central Bank Act. Meanwhile, the RTC 48 Urdaneta sentenced her to a straight penalty of two years imprisonment for each count of violation of the General Banking Act.

On December 2009, the Monetary Board issued a Resolution declaring the closure of the KRBI. It also then authorized the BSP’s Office of Special Investigation to conduct an investigation of the bank, which brought Acuña’s transgressions to light.

The BSP continues to prosecute bank personnel who violate banking laws, rules and regulations, in order to maintain the trust of the public in the country’s banking system.

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