Senator’s Wife On $500K Bail Bond Gets Third Chance

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (jGLi) – Marissa Tadeo Lapid, wife of Philippine Sen. Lito Lapid, was granted additional time for the third time “to conduct legal research and factual investigation” of the $50,000 bulk smuggling filed against her by the United States government.

U. S. District Court Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen of Las Vegas, Nevada vacated her previous order, setting the preliminary hearing last Monday, July 9, at 4 p.m. of the case and resetting the preliminary hearing on Aug. 23, 2012 at 4 p.m. at Courtroom 3B.

In her order, Judge Leen said, “[O]nce these investigations have completed, the parties will conduct negotiations that may resolve this case and save judicial resources.

“Additionally, denial of this request would result in a miscarriage of justice and would deny parties reasonable time necessary for effective preparation, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.

“The Court grants this request for continuance on the basis of finding that the ends of justice served by this continuance outweigh the best interest of the public and defendant in a speedy trial and indictment.”

FIRST PRELIM SET APRIL 9, 2012

The preliminary hearing was originally set on April 9, 2012. But this was continued to July 9, 2012.

Preliminary hearing will determine probable cause.

Mrs. Lapid is out on a $500,000 bail secured by a property bond. But she could not leave the Clark County, which covers Las Vegas.

Mrs. Lapid was questioned when she arrived at a U. S. port of entry in Las Vegas airport last Nov. 27, 2010 when she failed to disclose that she was bringing into the U.S. more than $50,000 in U.S. currency and more than 10,000 Philippine pesos ($356.00) in violation of U.S. dollar anti-smuggling law (Title 31, U.S. Code, Sec. 5332). The law calls for a maximum five-year sentence and a fine of $250,000 and criminal forfeiture of the seized money.

She was later released and she left for the Philippines.

While in the Philippines, Mrs. Lapid was invited back to Las Vegas by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. When she returned to Las Vegas she was charged with bulk smuggling based on a complaint of “probable cause affidavit.”

“AM NOT CARRYING MORE THAN $10K”

The affidavit alleges that on Nov. 27, 2010 after Mrs. Lapid “presented a completed and a signed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Form 6059B, she stated she was not carrying currency or monetary instruments over $10,000 in U.S. currency or a foreign currency equivalent.”
When pressed again by CPB Officer Johnson, Lapid admitted she had additional 10,000 Philippine pesos (US$356.00).

The affidavit says that when Johnson “unzipped the baggage,” it led to the discovery of two socks containing $10,000, totaling $20,000, and one cloth bag containing an additional $20,000 “concealed beneath the bag lining.”

The discovery “represented an additional $40,000 over Lapid’s written and verbal declarations.” When asked what the additional money was for, Mrs. Lapid responded, “I’m sorry … It’s for my house.”

CPB officers seized the “$50,000 from Lapid in violation of bulk smuggling regulations and remitted the remaining $439 back to Lapid for humanitarian purposes.” (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

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