I agree with moves of Los Angeles law enforcement authorities to widen the probe of the swindling of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao apparently was duped of more than US$150,000 by the second wife of his driver, identified as Pia Quijada.
The story is that Pacquiao opened a checking account at Wells Fargo and used the addresses of the spouses Quijada.
Over time, Quijada made unauthorized withdrawals of the Pacquiao funds by issuing checks with forged Pacquiao signatures.
The investigation, naturally focused on the beneficiary of the forgery, Pia Quijada, who has reportedly confessed and has asked for forgiveness from Pacquiao.
But I think the investigation should not stop there.
The question now is, how could this withdrawal be made possible without the participation of people from within the bank.
In the Philippines, when one opens a checking account, the bank as standard procedure, requires the account holder to make several specimen signatures in what they call "sig-cards" or signature cards.
This sig-cards are used by bank employees/telles for comparison, in the event checks are issued by the account holder.
When the bank receives checks issued by the account holder, the teller immiadately gets the sig-cards from a filing cabinet and compare the signatures.
In short, it is the responsibility of the bank to ensure the checks are not forged.
If the bank allows the withdrawal, and later on the signature turns out to be forged, that is the responsibility of the bank.
At the very least, negligence can be attributed on the bank.
But is it only negligence, or did it amount to conspiracy?
That is the question.
It is therefore no surprise that Wells Fargo is offering to refund Manny Pacquiao of the money withdrawn without his authority.
That is only proper.
It is a good thing that the person swindled was a celebrity.
If it were an ordinary account holder, would the bank readily make the refund?
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