By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2017 Journal GlobaLinks)
CHICAGO (JGL) – A former Filipino American car dealer, who wired $500,000 to the Philippines and wrote $250,000 check and
transferred millions in assets to his then-wife, Hilda Roque Hilao, and signed a marital termination agreement absolving his then-wife of debts and liabilities resulting in the collapse of his company, GWG, before fleeing to the Philippines, was sentenced Monday (May 16) to more than 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release and restitution of $29.7-Million after pleading guilty to 26 out of the 51-count indictment for bank fraud and making false statements in applications for credit.
Eminiano Abrian Reodica, who fled to Australia before the Philippines and the United States entered into an Extradition Treaty in 1996, had numerous pending civil suits and criminal investigations when he left Australia on his way to Canada when he was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in 2012 when his fingerprints registered hits in the United States database even if he were assuming a new name – Roberto A. Coscolluela, Jr.
When questioned at the airport by the FBI agents, Reodica repeatedly stated that his name was Roberto Coscolluela while holding up his Australian passport in the same name. Reodica denied ever living in the U.S. nor have any family or friends here. Prosecutors said “Defendant’s flight and assumption of a new identity evince a willful desire to evade detention and responsibility for his crime that render his actions even more egregious.”
Reodica’s two siblings, Serafin Reodica, 71, and sister, Corazon Reodica, 61, still live in Azusa, California, while brother Emmanuel Reodica, 57, lives in Cordova, Alaska, and sister Remedios Lasangria, 49, lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
His first wife, Hilda Roque Hilao, who now sports an assumed name, lives in Seattle, Washington. Reodica has four children with Hilda, namely, Emily Hilao Reodica-Rollins, 47; Elinore Hilao Reodica-Han, 45, Elisa Hilao Reodica-Thompson, 40, and Jun Hilao Reodica, 39, all living in the U.S.
REPORTER’S LETTER to Former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos. (JGL Photo)
Although the Probation Officers recommended to Judge S. James Otero of the U.S. District Court in Central District California in Los Angeles that Reodica, a.k.a Coscolluela, be sentenced to the low-end of 36 to 46 months, which could have set him free to time served, the prosecution recommended the high-end of 121 months in prison because Reodica has never expressed his remorse which could make him a recidivist, saying that even when he is inside prison, he has continued “to defraud unwitting victims in Australia,” where one newspaper called him “Brisbane’s Bernie Madoff,” the admitted operator of a Ponzi scheme that is considered the largest financial fraud in U.S. history.
Reodica, 72, a native of Pagsanjan, Laguna in the Philippines, will be 77 when he is released from prison in five years as he had already been in prison during the last five years.
NEVER SHOWED REMORSE
In opposing the low end of his sentence Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ruth C. Pinkel, Poonam G. Kumar and Scott Paetty argued that Reodica, the owner of the second largest Chevrolet dealership in the U.S. during the 80’s had never showed his remorse when he withdrew his guilty plea before the day he was to stand trial, which was denied by Judge Otero last Jan. 19, 2017. If Reodica did not flee, he could have been sentenced to five years in prison for the “ greater than $5-M fraud” he committed at that time. But the U.S. Supreme Court “has found that a sentencing court may nonetheless consider the current version of the guidelines ‘as representing the most recent views of the agency charged by Congress with developing sentencing policy.’”
Among the aggravating roles the prosecution considered in seeking a longer sentence was his abuse of position of trust when he asked his employees to join the Employee Loan Investment Program (ELIP), where he directed his employees to sign up for a car loan but did not take possession of the car. The loan proceeds would then be used as operating capital of Grand Wilshire Group of Companies (GWG).
A summa cum laude graduate in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the University of the East in the Philippines, Reodica is a “person with substantial gifts,” who exhibited keen business and marketing skills as he built Grand Wilshire Chevrolet from a single storefront to the third largest car dealership in the U.S. But he had a “troubling predilection to using his skills to engage in criminal conduct.” It was Atty. Amado D. Valdez, chairman of the Philippine Social Security System, who confirmed to this reporter about two years ago Reodica was a summa cum laude graduate of U.E. as he was a dean of U.E. College of Law at that time.
FVR WITH REODICA:
FORMER GRAND WISHIRE GROUP owner Eminiano “Jun” Reodica was shown in this photo with then General-turned Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos on May 26, 1988 taken by Cindy Darby that bannered the San Gabriel Valley Tribune website. Reodica would flee the United States three months later taking with him millions of dollars and was rumored to have been extended protection by then General Ramos, who, in a letter to this reporter, said “I do not know of any Eminiano A. Reodica, nor have had any dealings with a person of that name. Your sources, Joseph, are DUBIOUS and are misleading you and the public. I hope you write more credibly/substantially.” (JGL)
Defendant’s scheme to defraud involves concealing the true rate of delinquency and continue to use those contracts as collateral on the lines of credit by identifying any delinquent contracts in a “Preliminary Delinquency Report.”
DOUBLE-PLEDGING OF COLLAGERAL
Reodica would be involved in “double-pledging of collateral” by pledging the same car contract to two different lenders. GWG would repossess cars from customers who were delinquent, but would fail to disclose to the lenders that the repossession had occurred. GWG would then re-sell those vehicles and assign the new car contract to the new lender, without any notification to the original lender.
The third is the Employee Loan Investment Program (ELIP) for his employees.
Other fraudulent schemes Reodica committed were (1) credit card investment program thru which employees applied for credit cards and then obtained cash advances to fund GWG operating capital; (2) submission of falsified credit reports to lenders for customers; and (3) commercial paper program, in which defendant solicited funds from investors in exchange for GWG stock.
As a result of his fraudulent schemes, five GWG entities had filed for bankruptcy in 1988. Among the institutions he obtained numerous lines of credit included Union Bank, First Los Angeles Bank, Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank of California, Manilabank California, First Central Bank, Philadelphia National Bank, and Imperial Savings Association. Imperial failed and was taken over by Resolution Trust Corporation and succeeded by FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). Imperial lost more than $33.5-M.
Hundreds of investors, including members of the Filipino community, and numerous financial institutions filed claims for $90,158,550.26, including $64,246,964.53 in bank claims and $25,911,585.73 in investor claims. Employees lost their jobs. Several of them were prosecuted.
A source told this reporter that because Reodica was so successful at that time prominent Filipinos who come to Los Angeles, California pay a him a visit in his car dealership in Glendora, California.
Among those who visited him in May 1988 was then Gen. Fidel Ramos, who was rumored to have provided Reodica protection to hide in the Philippines by sharing Mr. Ramos the “loot” and asked Reodica to “hole up at a secluded place in Calabarzon-NPA infested region so nobody can track him down.”
In a marginal note to this reporter’s Oct. 25, 2013 letter to Mr. Ramos, the former Philippine President said, “I do not know of any Eminiano A. Reodica, nor have had any dealings with a person of that name. Your sources, Joseph, are DUBIOUS and are misleading you and the public. I hope you write more credibly/substantially.”