overseas Filipinos

Relatives of aspiring OFWs sue Italian firm over alleged fraud

Michelle Abad

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Relatives of aspiring OFWs sue Italian firm over alleged fraud

COMPLAINANTS. Consul General Elmer Cato and Italian lawyer Bruno de Blasi meet with Filipinos alleging their relatives were defrauded by immigration consultancy firm Alpha Assistenza, in a photo released on November 21, 2023.

Philippine consulate general in Milan

Filipino executives of Italy-based consultancy firm Alpha Assistenza SRL are accused of defrauding fellow Filipinos after failing to deliver promised jobs in Italy for thousands of euros

MANILA, Philippines – One hundred relatives of aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) sued an Italy-based immigration consultancy firm over alleged aggravated fraud, the Philippine consulate general in Milan said on Sunday, December 3.

In a statement on Sunday, the consulate said that Italian lawyer Bruno de Blasi filed the first 11 complaints with the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Milan against Diane Kristine Respicio and John Dutaro, the Filipino chief executive officers of consultancy firm Alpha Assistenza SRL.

The Department of Foreign Affairs hired De Blasi to represent the 100 Filipino complainants based in Italy. The firm was accused of defrauding 269 Filipinos in the Philippines who sought work in Italy under the Italian government’s Decreto Flussi program.

Respicio and Dutaro allegedly failed to deliver promised jobs for the complainants’ relatives that they paid as much as €3,000 (P181,140) for.

“Attorney De Blasi will be filing additional complaints in the coming days before the Office of the Public Prosecutor, which is expected to review the complaints and decide whether to bring the case to trial,” the consulate general said.

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Consul General Elmer Cato had made the recommendation to hire a lawyer for the complainants, which was approved by Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo.

Rappler earlier spoke to some Filipinos who had claimed they were scammed by Alpha Assistenza, detailing how they or their relatives went through visa application processes for work promised to them in Italy. They were never deployed.

The Italian embassy in Manila had also confirmed that Alpha Assistenza was tagged in visa applications with work permits that turned out to be fake.

In September, Alpha Assistenza denied involvement in any irregular activities. – Rappler.com

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers overseas Filipinos, the rights of women and children, and local governments.