The Selin-Gustafsson Gang’s seriocomic criminal capers against their former Bodog Asia employers continued this week with the dropping of two additional indictments against the gang that couldn’t steal straight. (Documents viewable at bottom of page.) Already facing a raft of charges including embezzlement of six-figure sums, fresh charges of estafa (swindling) and qualified theft have been laid against eleven individuals whose names will be getting very familiar to CalvinAyre.com readers by now.
The gang’s two titular members, Patrik Selin and Jan Robert Gustafsson, formerly headed up Bodog Europe and Bodog Asia respectively. Other names on the indictments include Sherwin Quiambao, Jasmin Singh, Anthony Arcilla, Rosemarie Fegueroa Frialde, Mariano Monteras, Mary Jane de Guzman, Edwin Rejano Erpe, Maria Arleen Aldaba and John Does and Jane Does.
But we begin our show with everyone’s favorite blade-wielding femme fatale, Sylvia “Scissorhands” Bernadette Gonzales de Guzman. In January 2013, Sylvia instructed a Bodog Asia bookkeeper to cut her a check for P900k (US $20k) to cover duties on several vehicles Bodog was importing into the country. The check, made out in Sylvia’s name, was duly signed by CFO Maria Arleen Aldaba and their other accomplices and deposited into Sylvia’s personal bank account.
By May, the vehicle duties remained unpaid and Sylvia was being cagey whenever the company asked about the holdup, er, delay. In July, the affidavit says Sylvia admitted pocketing the $20k and instructed a bookkeeper to hide the paper trail. By September, right around the time Sylvia threatened to cut out a banker’s tongue if she didn’t approve an unauthorized withdrawal from a Bodog Asia corporate account, Sylvia was joking that auditors were welcome to any money they could find.
SHARED BED, RIGGED BID
The second half of our affidavit double feature ups the ante with a bigger cast of schemers after vastly bigger stakes… Hell, there’s even a romantic subplot.
On April 29, 2013, then-Bodog Asia director Jasmin Singh signed a contract with NVSP Construction and Development Inc. The contract, to set up two floors of a Manila high-rise as an office space, was worth just shy of P95m ($2.1m). Bodog Asia policy required all contracts over US $100k to be approved by the board, but Jasmin made the executive decision that such approval was unnecessary in this case, despite the fact that she was only authorized to approve purchasing up to $1k.
Four days later, with Sylvia, Quiambao and the usual suspects assisting along the way, the contractor received an upfront payment of P40m ($879k). On May 9, Jasmin approved further payment of P7.5m ($165k), again without obtaining board approval. The payments were also made despite NVSP having failed to post a performance bond, something Bodog Asia policy required for the sums to be released.
NVSP is owned by Noel Vincent S. Piccio, with whom Sylvia had an undisclosed live-in relationship at the time. Bodog Asia learned this fact when it moved to cancel NVSP’s contract due to dissatisfaction with their work. A Bodog source said the company promised not to audit NVSP’s work provided they return the unused portion of the deposit and any materials purchased, but Piccio insisted on being paid for the remainder of the contract. At this point, Piccio let slip his association with Sylvia, clearly under the impression – much like the Denver Broncos – that he was on the winning team.
OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD? YOU CAN’T MISS HIM
If anyone wonders how Selin and Gustafsson got their names associated with these charges, it’s because they’re accused of occupying the upper rungs of the conspiracy seeking to defraud Bodog Asia via these and other antics. The gang of former Bodoggers aspired to open its own online gambling and US-facing payment processing company in the Philippines but they lacked the necessary funds, so instead of stealing a box of Bodog Asia pens like normal employees, they decided to use those pens to write massive checks to which they weren’t entitled.
And when they got caught with their fingers in the pie, Gustafsson provided police with the falsehoods that led to the raid on Bodog Asia’s offices last November. The gang has gone as far as to physically intimidate junior members into making wild accusations against Bodog Asia staff and suppliers, only to have those members recant their accusations once they were at a safe distance.
A woman stealing from her boss and sharing the cash with her boyfriend (and mother, as it turns out) is a classic film noir set-up, but the film this bizarre scenario most recalls is The Wizard of Oz. You’ve got a bunch of wicked witches screaming about how they’re going to get that little (Bo)dog, a cowardly lion hiding behind them and no shortage of munchkins gone bad. Meanwhile, the wizardly Patrik Selin watches all from behind the curtain, working the levers, apparently convinced his ample silhouette has gone undetected. Think again.
Word has it that there are literally hundreds more cases coming down the pipe and that this drama, in keeping with the slow march of Philippine justice, will continue to unfold for years to come. Even Sylvia’s mother, Flora Gonzales de Guzman, is now rumored to be a major co-conspirator and is expected to be indicted soon, as is Sylvia’s now ex-boyfriend, Noel Vincent S. Piccio. We will continue to cover this story as it breaks.