A WOMAN claiming to have connections with the Office of the President and had cosmetic surgery to avoid identification and arrest for allegedly scamming investors of almost P120 million was nabbed by members of the Eastern Police District –District Special Operations Unit (EPD-DSOU) in Pasig City.
Suspect Erma Towle, 48, of No. 18 Apollo St., Meteor Homes, Bgy. Fortune, Marikina City allegedly tried to bribe arresting cops when collared at the gate of Capitol 8 Executive Village, Bgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City at around 4:30 p.m. the other day.
Towle was arrested by a DSOU team headed by Major Darwin Guerrero and his men Police Senior Master Staff Sergeant Rommel Fajutag and Police Staff Sergeant Salvador Quitaleg based on the warrant of arrest issued by Judge Christian Emmanuel G. Pimentel, Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 69 for the crime of BP 22 or Bouncing Checks Law.
According to Fajutag, the suspect underwent cosmetic surgery to change her appearance in order to evade arrest.
Fajutag said the modus operandi of the suspect was to entice her victims to invest in ghost government projects.
“Pinaghahanap yung suspect last year, nang malaman niya na may warrant na siya nagtago na at gumamit iba’t-ibang pangalan at nagparetoke ng mukha kasi dun sa mga larawan nya nun una hanggang panahon na nahuli sya malaki ang pinagbago. Nagparetoke siya para ikubli ang kanyang itsura at maiwasan ang huli,” police said.
The case stemmed from the charges filed by former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Rochelle Calle after she was duped by the suspect of around P13.4 million.
“Dati po akong contractor sa Afghanistan, Engineering Construction tapos nakilala ko at nun ibang biktima yung suspect noong 2016 may koneksyon daw siya sa Malacañang. May ka-grupo sya, may pinapakita pa silang video na pumapasok sila sa Malacañang,” Calle told reporters.
“Grupo sila ng contractor daw, pinapakita ng grupo nya na kasama si Presidente at ibang opisyal. Si Erma Towle (suspect), sya ang tagabigay ng Standby Letter of Credit sa amin, yun daw letter na yung ay ang project na popondohan ng gobyerno. Kami naman ang suppliers ng mga construction materials para sa itatayong project na iyon,” she added.
The victim gave a total of P13.4 million investment money to the suspect. Part of the money was supposedly “grease money” for some government officials.
Aside from the former OFW, six other investors were convinced to invest a total of P120 million to the arrested suspect who was operating with her group since 2004.
Towle, who used the different names of Erma Digman and Sarah Mina Jane Saavedra, has six standing warrants of arrest in different courts in Quezon City, Iligan City, Pasig City, Dasmariñas, Cavite and Parañaque City for estafa and violation of the Bouncing Checks Law.
The suspect was turned over to the Pasig City Jail after her arrest.
Pasig Police chief Col. Moises Villaceran Jr. said the suspect was set to post bail but was prevented to walk out of jail by her six pending warrants of arrest.
Villaceran encouraged other victims to surface at the Pasig Police to file their complaints against the suspect.