ESTAFA: Fraud & Prejudice

Petitioner contends that she employed no false pretense or fraudulent acts upon private complainant. On the contrary, she insists that the parties merely entered into a partnership or business transaction, and she could not be held liable for estafa for her failure to produce profits. However, this contention was ably disposed of by the respondent Court, thus: Accused-appellant insists in her brief that there was no false pretense on her part and that she and the private complainant simply entered into a business transaction, and this was admitted by the latter himself. Yes, private complainant admitted that he did enter into a business transaction with appellant, but this transaction was induced and attended by her representations, which turned out to be false, that she had strong influence and connections with the Bureau of Customs to obtain release of the five (5) vans of merchandise in question by simply paying the demurrage and storage charges, which she would pay with complainants money, and after their release, his money would be doubled. This, private complainant stated again and again on direct examination, on cross, and in answering questions from the court, with apparent sincerity and candor. The elements of estafa are as follows: (1) that the accused defrauded another (a) by abuse of confidence, or (b) by means of deceit; and (2) that damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation is caused to the offended party or third party. Petitioners deceit through false pretenses is clearly shown by her having assured private complainant that she possessed power, influence and qualifications to cause the release of the five (5) container vans of used engines. She made private complainant believe that his money would be used to pay for storage and demurrage fees with the Bureau of Customs, and yet she could not produce any proof that she had actually paid the amount to said government office. [G.R. No. 105213. December 4, 1996]