Former President Marcos' "daughter's" swindling activities in the UK were not confined to Pinoys. New evidence has emerged showing that some of the native population are also licking their wounds and counting the cost of her attentions in the shape of dwindling bank balances
A happy Helena Skeggs, also known as Helena Pedroche and styling herself the daughter of former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos after getting more money from the unwary
The disturbing saga of Helena Skeggs' financial rampage in London has taken a new twist with the revelation that several fish wholesalers at London's historic Billingsgate market have been left looking for her to repay tens of thousands of pounds owed them. They are still looking.
These debts she incurred by sweet-talking her way through the market with her usual trick of claiming to be former President Marcos' daughter and waiting for a "large inheritance". This being reminiscent of the way she duped many Filipinos in London and the south east of England out of vast sums of money will bring a wry smile to her Pinoy victims. There appears to be an added feature in which she is alleged to have claimed that her mother had married one of the heirs to the Campbell soup fortune.
Skeggs is actually called Helena Pedroche and is originally from Urdaneta in Pangasinan.
Skeggs surrounded by some of her victims at a function held at London's Marriott Hotel - She used luxury hotels to put her "investors" and potential "creditors" at ease before getting them to open their check books and get their credit cards out
The traders at Billingsgate were also showed bank statements which appeared to show that Skeggs was solvent. This, coupled with now non-existent guarantees, gave the fish wholesalers the confidence to allow Skeggs to purchase and have delivered vast quantities of fish on credit.
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This confidence soon waned when, as the amounts owed mounted up, and as calls were made to clear the outstanding balances went unheeded, their initial enthusiasm for supplying what they thought was a very wealthy Filipina went out of the window.
One of the traders who did speak to Balita Pinoy on the record is owed £33,000 alone for fish supplied. Roger Barton who, as the oldest serving wholesaler is the unofficial "father of the market", was only one of the traders duped by Skeggs.
Veteran Billingsgate fish wholesaler Roger Barton who would like Skeggs to repay £33,000 for fish he supplied
When his demands for repayment were ignored, he called a meeting which was mediated by the market superintendent Malcolm Macleod. This meeting which Skeggs agreed to attend, dissolved into an acrimonious end when Skeggs pulled out a thousand pounds in cash and threw it at Roger Barton.
Other traders at Billingsgate who spoke to Balita Pinoy off the record included one whose 20+ year livelihood at the market has been destroyed by Skeggs. He and his partner were forced to go into liquidation, and have left the market. Others who remain at the market like Barton spoke on condition of anonymity as they are pursuing ways to recoup their losses and declined to be identified for this article.
One fish trader there asking for payment for fish delivered was told by Skeggs that he should have collected the money at point of delivery, these deliveries being to Skeggs' own customers. This revelation seems at odds with what is already known about her activities in the fish trade with Filipinos, as she is known to have either charged them, or attempted to pay off some of her debts in kind with fish.
Filipinos in southern England who have had the unfortunate experience of either lending money to or investing with Skeggs will recognize the problem.
Helena Skeggs uses this drawing as proof of her connection with former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Claiming to some to be the illegitimate daughter, and others to be the adopted daughter of the Marcos family, this drawing is used to give credibility, there seem to be no photos. Supposedly showing her as a girl with former President Marcos, investigations have revealed that Marcos and wife Imelda did indeed adopt a girl, however this adopted daughter is alive and well and in business in Manila and looks nothing like Helena Skeggs
However all is not in vain. Jeremy Galman, a solicitor at Meaby & Co, a law firm in Camberwell south London, successfully recovered over £50,000 in debt, costs and interest from Skeggs on behalf of three Filipinas. Skeggs had ignored both the original summons and judgement, but Galman pursued her, getting an order for her to attend court on pain of imprisonment to explain why she had not either responded to the judgements or made an effort to repay. She originally sent her "legal representative" disgraced former lawyer Philip Englefield to answer this matter. Nothing happened on Skeggs' part notwithstanding Englefield's promises to the court that payment was imminent, so Galman was forced to issue another order for her arrest and imprisonment.
After this final legal threat and the prospect of being incarcerated in Holloway prison, Skeggs raced into the court manager's office at Ilford County Court waving a check book to, in her words, "Make it all go away" and paid the sum in full. And unlike checks paid to many of her Filipino victims, this one cleared.
Skegg's involvement with Englefield has never been adequately explained until now.
Englefield was struck off as a practising solicitor 20 years ago, and subsequently jailed for stealing millions of pounds of client's money. He re-invented himself as a "consultant legal advisor" operating from a company known as Grace Associates at the prestigious address of 65 Knightsbridge just up the road from Harrods and Harvey Nichols department stores.
When investigations into Skeggs' activities began in the summer of 2009, she refused to answer any questions, saying her "legal advisor" was Philip Englefield. Enquiries in that direction resulted him in refusing to speak, instead referring us to a Moira O'Hara of the Paddington, London based law firm of WGS. O'Hara requested we put our questions to Skeggs in writing which we did. The responses from Skeggs via WGS were naturally either non-existent or evasive.
With the latest revelations of the Billingsgate financial disaster coming out, we approached Ms O'Hara to submit new questions to Skeggs. This time the response was quite surprising. In answer to our question if she still represented Skeggs, she stated that she could not discuss either clients or former clients with us. That is understandable, client/lawyer confidentiality should always be respected. We then asked whether it would be worth submitting questions for Skeggs to answer, this time the response was that she could not answer that either. This seems to be an intriquing answer.
It would be thought of as simple to state whether a person was indeed a client or not. Even if a client is no longer represented, a lawyer has a duty of care not to reveal anything discussed between them. But it is not going into client confidentiality to state whether they are in fact clients being represented or not.
The Billingsgate story threw up the true connection between Skeggs and Englefield, that they are joint directors of one company using her maiden name of Pedroche, and that he is director and secretary of another company also using her maiden name.
The company details are:
Pedroche Fashions Limited (Co Number 07233738) has Helena Pedroche recorded as the company secretary, whilst Philip Anthony Deveraux Englefield is the sole director. The appointments date from 23 April 2010 only a few days before Englefield appeared as her representative at Ilford County Court. Incidentally Englefield is also recorded as company secretary, so there are two company secretaries. Very unusual.
Englefield and his first floor Knightsbridge office
The only address given is First Floor, 65 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RA.
There is also another company Pedroche International Limited (07302078) registered at that address, Englefield is recorded as both director and company secretary at the same address. This company was not formed until 1 July 2010.
Another company Helena Skeggs was involved with as director is the now dissolved Quadro Ltd based at 19 Thorndon Court, Eagle Way, Brentwood, Essex CM13 3BY. Balita Pinoy has copies of checks issued (amongst many) signed by her husband Richard which were not honored by the bank using this company name. All these checks were issued to Skeggs' victims. These victims stories were featured in previous reports Balita Pinoy made on the Skeggs/Marcos issue.
The Skeggs' luxury house in Chigwell's Manor Road, locally known as Millionaires Row
There seems to be some confusion of Skeggs' listed address for Pedroche Fashions. If she is using the Brentwood or Knightsbridge address as her home address which is actually 25 Manor Road, Chigwell, Essex IG7 5PL, this would be in contravention of UK company law.
In another piece of bad news for Skeggs, the British government's regulator for broadcasters totally rejected a complaint she had made about 2 programs. The regulator, OFCOM, had received complaints from Skeggs about programs transmitted on Balitang Europe about her rip-offs of Filipinos in London. After an investigation lasting 18 months, OFCOM said no complaint stood up to any kind of scrutiny.
THE MARCOS DAUGHTER, THE DISGRACED LAWYER & A SUBURBAN COURTROOM DRAMA
Helena Skeggs loses case: British Government Dept rejects complaints against program makers
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