‘Master forger’ of documents for US visa nabbed

MANILAA suspected forger who specialized in faking supporting documents for applicants for US visas has been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Officials of the NBI Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division (NBI-AOTCD) presented to the media on Tuesday, Manuel "Nonoy" V. Bala, who has gained the monicker, "The Man with the Golden Hands", from law enforcement officials in the 1980s for his skill in faking documents.

Now a senior citizen, Bala admitted meeting clients who used his forged documents in applying for tourist visas at the US Embassy in Manila but denied receiving a down payment of PHP20,000 from Kevin Keith Fajardo and Jarra Rowella, who supposedly agreed to pay the balance of about PHP400,000 once they obtain visas and find employment in the US.

Bala was arrested in a hotel in Paco, Manila last Friday by the NBI, which was acting on a complaint letter from Isaiah Roland II, an attache of the US Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service, Overseas Criminal Investigations (OCI), who requested assistance in the investigation of Fajardo and Rowella, who are applying for a tourist visa.

The two used faked documents from Bala to back their claim that they were a married couple locally engaged in business.

The OCI investigation showed that based on certificates of no marriage from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the two are not married.

Upon verifying with the Department of Trade and Industry, the US Embassy also found out that the business supposedly owned by the couple was nonexistent.

NBI-AOTCD Chief Joel Tovera said Bala had previously been convicted of falsification in 2000 and had served time at the New Bilibid Prison.

NBI Deputy Director Vicente A. de Guzman III, meanwhile, urged the public not to resort to fake documents in applying for visas. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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