Veteran character actor Ricardo Cepeda said he was “shocked” when he was arrested by the police over charges of alleged syndicated estafa.
The actor on Tuesday, October 10 stressed that he was just an endorser of the company involved in the complaint.
“I was shocked because I wasn’t aware na umabot sa may warrants ako. I had heard na may mga scam daw but ‘di ko alam na sinama nila ako,” Ricardo said in an interview with GMA News.
He was arrested last Saturday before a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Caloocan City..
Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit Chief (CIDU) Police Maj. Dondon Llapitan confirmed that Ricardo was also shocked at the arrest.
“Nagulat rin po siya nung sinilbihan natin siya ng warrant of arrest. Nagko-conduct po siya ng ribbon-cutting sa area. Inaresto po natin siya nung bago pa lang po magkaroon [ng] ribbon-cutting,” he said.
Ricardo was charged with 23 counts of syndicated estafa.
The actor stressed that he only modeled for the company’s products, which included energy-saving gadgets.
“I am not connected at all sa company. Even sa business registration, my name is not there,” he said.
“Wala ako sa running business, anything of the company. Ano, model lang ako about the products,” Ricardo added.
The QCPD-CIDU cannot tell the amount of the alleged estafa, which has reached over 40 complaints.
Llapitan said it happened in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan.
He also said Ricardo has another warrant of arrest due to a bouncing check and another three counts of violation of the Securities Regulation Code.
“Vinerify po natin ‘yung e-warrant po natin at nalaman po natin na marami pa siyang warrant na pending,” Llapitan said.
The police said that they presented other warrants of arrest to the actor, with the latter believing he would be acquitted on the cases filed against him.
“‘Yung ano ko lang is the time. The wasted time that I can’t do anything. I cannot work because I’m here trying to prove my innocence,” Ricardo lamented.
His partner, actress Marina Benipayo, previously said that the actor had only wanted to help someone he knew.
She also said Ricardo did not have a contract for his brand ambassadorship with the company.
“Ito ngang pagka-brand ambassador niya, verbal nga ‘yan kasi gusto niya tulungan ‘yung tao in the first place,” the actress said.
“In our lives, never namin mai-imagine na mangyayari sa amin ito, lalo na kay Ricardo. Napakabait niyang tao. Dami niyang tinutulungan. Ito ngang ginawang nangyari, tinutulungan niya lang din ‘yung kilala niya. Pero, of course, lessons learned,” she added.
Marina also addressed the “investment scheme” that was offered by the company which Ricardo was the brand ambassador.
“Hindi nga kami nag-invest nun kasi hindi kami nag-iinvest, wala kaming pang-invest,” she said, adding that their family is “very maintenance” and “never goes to vacations.”
Ricardo was arrested on October 7 over alleged syndicated estafa, a non-bailable offense under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Presidential Decree No. 1689.
A law firm defines syndicated estafa as “a form of fraud wherein multiple individuals are deceived by a group or syndicate operating with a common purpose.”
The groups are said to “use false pretenses, misrepresentations, or fraudulent schemes to gain money or property from unsuspecting victims.”
Two of Ricardo’s stepsons said that the actor had “no knowledge nor participation of” in the company’s supposed investment scheme.
The actor has appeared in some films and television shows like “Doll House,” “Sin Island,” “Felix Manalo,” “My Binondo Girl,” “Ang Dalawang Ikaw,” “Marimar,” “Honesto,” “Mga Lihim ni Urduja” and “Mula Sa Puso.”