Ex-bank exec in $81-M cyber theft convicted

January 10, 2019
Maia Santos-Deguito
Maia Santos-Deguito

THE Makati City regional trial court yesterday convicted former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito of seven counts of money laundering for her complicity in the celebrated Bangladesh Bank $81-million cyber-theft in 2016.

The court also ordered Deguito to pay not more than 200 percent of the value of the laundered money or almost $110 million.

In a decision, the court said Deguito took advantage of her extensive knowledge of the banking law to consummate the illegal transactions.

Witnesses’ accounts showed that Deguito opened fictitious bank accounts where funds from the hacked bank account from Bangladesh were transferred.

”The accused must be responsible of her executed acts and implemented transactions as charged and described in the subject eight criminal information,” the court said.

”She has prior knowledge of these remittances, hence accused Deguito was able to prepare, before hand, for these remittances in crystal clear violation of the AMLA Law. Accused Deguito has taken advantage of her position in the bank and her banking knowledge and experience, hence accused Deguito was able to execute and implement these illegal transactions with ease,” it continued.

In one act, the court noted, Deguito withdrew cash from fictitious account J.C. Lagrosas amounting to US$22.735 million on Feb. 5, 2016, and deposited them to another fake account under the name William Go, on the same day “16 minutes earlier.”

”In conclusion, the prosecution evidence can stand by itself to convict the herein accused beyond reasonable doubt...Thus, after the prosecution has proved and established that accused is a covered person and the transactions described in the Information are covered transactions, the crime of violation of the subject law is fully proved and established.”

“The prosecution has accomplished and did it,” the court said.