Christmas came early for the Asian-facing online gambling sector as a quartet of inept fraudsters once again found themselves in serious legal jeopardy.
On December 14, arrest warrants were issued in the Philippines for Jan Robert Gustaffson, Sylvia Bernadette Gonzales de Guzman, Maria Arleen Aldaba and Sherwin Quiambao, all of whom face multiple counts of qualified theft.
Aldaba and de Guzman surrendered and posted bail ahead of arraignment and pre-trial proceedings on January 20, 2021. Quiambao remains at large while Gustaffson, a Swedish national, reportedly fled the country in February. However, Gustafsson faces immediate detention should he be so foolish as to attempt to return to the Philippines.
The four fraudsters were part of a criminal group that launched an attack against their former employer, Spectrogen Corp, a business process outsourcing firm supplying services to Philippine-based online gambling operators.
Having been summarily dismissed for incompetence, this gang that couldn’t shoot, plot or even think straight concocted a hare-brained criminal scheme to steal Spectrogen assets. The plot was set in motion by Gustafsson, who knowingly filed a false affidavit with a Philippine court alleging illegality on behalf of his former employer.
This false information led Philippine police to raid the offices of Spectrogen and its affiliated companies. When these raids failed to produce any evidence to support Gustafsson’s affidavit, and other similarly inept theft attempts failed to result in the gang securing any ill-gotten gains – despite threats of shocking violence against reluctant bank employees – the plot began to unravel in spectacular fashion.
In due course, Philippine courts ruled that the raids on the BPO supplier were illegal and the judge who issued the warrants based on Gustafsson’s affidavits was suspended from the bench for two years. The individual gang members scattered to the wind as warrants were issued for their arrests and ‘wanted posters’ were published in local newspapers.
Despite their demonstrated willingness to bite the hand that feeds, not to mention the public relations wounds they inflicted on the Asian online gambling sector, some members of the gang have made (so far failed) attempts to sneak back onto the mothership from which they were so rudely ejected a few years ago.
Most recently, Quiambao has resurfaced as the CEO of a white-label online gambling provider, TECSCO Global Solutions Inc, which claims to have been “accumulating experience” since 2005. Quiambao may soon find himself accumulating all sorts of unwanted experience in a Manila prison should his whereabouts become known to the Philippine National Police.