Las Vegas hearing on Lapid wife’s case postponed again

LOS ANGELES—The preliminary hearing on a cash smuggling case against the wife of Senator Lito Lapid has been postponed for the second time to give her lawyers more time to prepare her defense.

United States magistrate Judge Peggy Leen has granted the request of Marissa Lapid’s lawyers to reschedule the April 9 hearing at the Nevada district courthouse to July 9 to give them more time “to conduct legal research and factual investigation.”

Restricted

The US government has placed a lien on Lapid’s Las Vegas property to cover her $500,000 bail. Her movements have been restricted to Clark County and she wears an ankle bracelet equipped with a location monitor, according to one of her lawyers, Eliot Krieger.

The request for the postponement of the hearing was signed by Krieger and Michael Mascarello, Lapid’s lawyers, as well as US Attorney Daniel Bogden and Assistant US Attorney Michael Chu.

“Once these investigations are completed, the parties will conduct negotiations that may resolve this case and save judicial resources,” said a court order signed by Leen on March 29.

“There is no rush to get it to indictment,” Krieger told the Inquirer after his first request to postpone the hearing was granted in February this year.

Lapid was held at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Las Vegas for three days after she was arrested on Jan. 15 for allegedly smuggling $40,000 into the US on Nov. 27, 2010.

Court papers obtained by the Inquirer showed that ICE special agent Albert Giangregorio, of the agency’s Money Laundering Asset Removal Group, stated in an affidavit that Lapid “knowingly concealed $40,000” when she arrived at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Nov. 27, 2010.

Lapid, a permanent resident or green card holder, had declared in the US Customs and Border Protection form that she was carrying $10,000 and P10,000 (equivalent to $225), Giangregorio related in his affidavit. After searching her luggage, ICE agents found $40,000 hidden in two socks and a cloth bag hidden in the lining, he added.

US federal law requires arriving passengers to declare any currency or monetary instrument totaling $10,000 or more. Violators are fined a maximum of $500,000 and the money recovered is confiscated by the US government.

Bulk cash smuggling is also punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison, according to a source from Homeland Security.

‘For my house’

Court documents showed that when Marissa was questioned by customs officials about the undeclared money, she said “I’m sorry…it’s for my house.”

But according to Senator Lapid, his wife intended to use the money for medical expenses, explaining that she had gone to the US to seek treatment for a bone ailment.

When asked about the conflicting statements, Krieger said what was more relevant to the case was that Mrs. Lapid willingly returned to the US to comply with “the invitation of Homeland Security to deal with the issue.”

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/F5HCEI4PGTWG6SHPAEID7CKST4 Migdonio

    Dapat lang sa kanila yan… dami ninikaw nila sa quarrying sa Pampanga…KARMA! KARMA! KARMA!! ..dumating din sa kanila..he!he!he!he!he!he!he!he!he!he!he!he!… ad nauseam..

  • anu12345

    “request of Marissa Lapid’s lawyers to reschedule the April 9 hearing at
    the Nevada district courthouse to July 9 to give them more time “to
    conduct legal research and factual investigation.”

    Factual daw. Huling huli na eh.

    “Krieger said what was more relevant to the case was that Mrs. Lapid
    willingly returned to the US to comply with “the invitation of Homeland
    Security to deal with the issue.”

    “She willingly returned” daw mga kabayan sabi ng lawyer. So that she can be arrested and spend gazillion dollars for legal, not to mention the risk of jail time.  ‘Namputsa.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYVO5BIPX6WO4IGFRGIQE3P6HY Ruben

    The Phl’s Department of Foreign Affair’s hand has influence on the the case’s postponement. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W6H5DZKUQTUASP4S6CGTK7B3E4 kevin

    Husband and Wife team LIAR…….

  • mangtom

    Akala ni Mrs. Lapid na nasa Pinas siya at dahil senador ang asawa niya pwedeng lulusot. Sorry, maling akala. Doon ibinibilanggo kahit gobernador na nagkakasala. Ibang luto ang justice system nila doon. Maaring matanggal pa ang kanyang green card or permanent residency status.

    Question: Is it possible na mga ibang senador at congressmen ay may mga properties din sa US? If so, saan galing yong perang yan? Sagut: we will get the answer “in due time”.

    • jiroarturo

      @mangtom:disqus 

      Paanong makakabili ng bahay si GMA, si Mickey, si Dato, si Ligot kung walang dollar accounts ang mga yan? At saan kukuha ng dollars sila kungdi ninakaw sa kaban ng bansa. Paano naging green card holder sila Lapid? Malakas ba ang mga yan sa US Embassy?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NHBDSNJADHQPXIKJNTQAAZRCCQ Evelyn

    Hindi dapat naging member ng senator-judge panel si Lapid habang me kaso ang asawa niya para husgahan si Corona.  Nasaan ang kunsyensya niya?  Dapat tinanggihan niya ay pagiging senator-judge.  Binabato ni Lapid si Corona samantalang si Lapid ay puwede ding batuhin.  Anong klaseng judicial system meron ang Pinas?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_L2CUVK7UBTUTKTGD35WSJHDCUE ernie

      may inihahanda ng kaso si ombudsman morales vs sen lapid. natatandaan inakusahan ng dating gob ng pampanga panlilio si sen lapid ng graft noong panahon ni pres. arroyo. unfortunately , ombudsman gutierrez put in the garbage. ngayon may daang matuwid na , lagot  ka lapid !

  • w4d

    Senator Lapid’s family are U.S. green card holder? There is conflict of interest since there are times when the Senator will have to vote on policies concerning the U.S. We see this a lot, where family members hold U.S. passports while their spouses are high ranking government officials. Not saying that everyone has bad intentions, but there should be sensitivity or “delikadeza” to protect oneself and the official position.

    Such as in the case of ex-Gen. Garcia, who not only would you question his allegiance and loyalty, but now clearly know, used his family to embezzle funds so he can live comfortably overseas, at the expense of the Filipino people. Fortunately, he got caught.

    Lapid, might as well have the same intention.

    We already know that Philippine politics, civil service, the military and national police are the best “investment” pools in a “get-rich-quick” scheme that is made perfect when combined with a Green Card upon retirement. That explains why everyone wants to be in politics….

    • pasaway008ako

      a green-card holder cannot vote on policies concerning the U.S. Only U.S. Citizens could. however, green-card holders could enjoy other benefits of u.s. citizens such as paying taxes, medications, right to bear arms, etc but not vote.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYVO5BIPX6WO4IGFRGIQE3P6HY Ruben

    The hearing would resume after Sen. Lito Lapid has voted in the Corona impeachment trial…depends on what he votes.

  • Senippilihp

    The problem is the Feudalistic system that still runs deep in Filipinos’ system. When Lapid was Pampanga Governor, Pampangos were all praises because he gives away money to whoever comes to him for help. What the people didn’t know (or a few did) is that he was laundering the money earned from the quarries. When Among Ed Panlilio was the Governor, he was able to raise so much money only to be laundered anew by Lilia Pineda. Among Ed’s policy which is clean and free of corruption did not pass the test of the mayors in the municipalities of Pampanga, thus, he did not get support during the last election. As I was told, when a mayor wants a project, Among Ed will provide the materials and labor for the project instead of money for the mayor to spend for the project. This system left nothing for the pockets of the mayors.

    Going back to Lapid and Feudalism, what Lapid gave away is just loose change compared with the quarry money which could have been used for projects. They could not even build a road for their quarry trucks which poses a great danger on any road they go through. Traffic has become a problem where these quarry trucks ply and it would help a lot if they have their own road. I read of some projects by Lilia Pineda but I could not put my finger on how good or bad she is, perhaps she needs a clue.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UWISP2YXGDQ7K2SIX2GI37B2EI Darwin

    we should have a law prohibitting politicians and their family members from gaining other nationalities. it is really disrespectful of them to be paid by our taxes and then apply for another nationality.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/NHBDSNJADHQPXIKJNTQAAZRCCQ Evelyn

      Maganda ang puntos mo.  Government officials and their family should NOT have dual citizenship.  Paano kung magka-gyera, nasaan ang kanilang loyalty? Sino ang papanigan nila? Puwede ba silang mamangka sa dalawang ilog?

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