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Holdings in Fraud Case Hidden, Court Told

Times Staff Writer

The wife of Glendora car dealer Eminiano (Jun) Reodica, whose auto sales empire collapsed last month amid allegations of fraud, began transferring real estate holdings valued at more than $1.2 million one day before a judge gave permission to creditors to place liens on the property, according to a lawsuit filed by a Los Angeles bank.

The suit filed by First Central Bank alleges that the properties were transferred to two trusts to conceal the assets from creditors. Reodica, his wife, Hilda Hilao Reodica, and Jaime Hilao, identified as the administrator of the trusts, are named as defendants.

First Central is one of four banks suing Reodica in Los Angeles Superior Court for breach of contract or fraud involving $8.2 million in loans on which his companies defaulted.

Reodica, 44, a Philippine immigrant who parlayed Grand Chevrolet in Glendora into a group of companies that made up the largest minority-owned enterprise in Southern California, disappeared in July as the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s major fraud unit were investigating his business practices.

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He was last seen in Manila on Aug. 4, the same day that two of his five firms filed for protection under federal bankruptcy laws.

Since then, a series of major banks and savings and loans--most of which have yet to file suit against Reodica--have alleged that they were bilked out of tens of millions of dollars by his companies through forged car loan records, and the FBI has joined the investigation of Reodica’s companies.

In addition, more than 1,000 investors in Reodica’s enterprises have been told by bank officials that they may never recover about $42 million they entrusted to the car dealer.

Listed $29 Million in Assets

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Attached to the suit filed by First Central Bank is a personal financial statement signed in February by Reodica in which the car dealer lists $29 million in assets, with more than $20 million of the total coming from his ownership of Grand Chevrolet and Grand Motors--a chain of 28 auto brokerage outlets--and interests in four other firms.

Reodica reported an annual salary of $60,000 from Grand Chevrolet, augmented by $588,300 in bonuses, which he authorized himself as company president.

Reodica also listed $826,900 in income and mortgage expenses of $729,000 from real estate holdings, which included the Rizal Shopping Center and Quezon Professional Building in Glendora and rental properties in North Hollywood and the San Gabriel Valley.

First Central Bank first filed suit against Reodica and one of his firms on Aug. 8, seeking $283,500 owed on a $500,000 loan the bank made in April, plus almost $50,000 in interest.

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On Aug. 19, the bank was allowed to place a lien on various properties owned by Reodica, including his Glendora home, the Glendora office building, a house in West Covina and condominiums in Hacienda Heights and La Puente, according to court records.

But on Aug. 18 and 19, according to subsequent filings in the case, Hilda Hilao Reodica, acting on behalf of herself and her husband, transferred title to the properties to either the Northland Trust or Westland Trust, both of which are administered by Jaime Hilao. The suit does not say whether Hilao is related to Hilda Reodica. Hilao could not be reached for comment.

First Central asserts that transfer of the property was “made with actual intent to hinder, delay or defraud . . . creditors in the collection of their claims.” The bank is seeking court orders invalidating the transfer of the properties and placing the assets in receivership. The bank is also seeking $200,000 in damages.

Further potentially complicating the disposition of the assets is the divorce action filed Aug. 29 by Hilda Reodica, citing irreconcilable differences with her husband of 19 years. The couple’s property will be divided under a written agreement between the two parties, according to court documents.

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