Pearlasia Gamboa spins a tale
Life for Pearlasia Gamboa… it’s like playing a game that’s gotten mixed up with reality:
The woman who more often than not calls herself Pearlasia Gamboa withdraws three sets of government identification from her wallet two California driver’s licenses and a U.S. passport and spreads them on the table. Each bears a different name next to her own photo. A handsome Filipina who looks younger than her 60 years, Gamboa has high cheekbones, dark eyes, and glossy black hair. "I have to show you all my IDs," she says with pride.
Pearlasia, aka Elvira Gamboa, aka Pearlasia Gamboa, has granted an audience with a reporter this May afternoon for the purpose of demonstrating that she is not a con artist. Showing off her panoply of assumed names might seem an odd way to start. Then again, there is little about Gamboa that conforms to expectations.
She calls attention to a fourth form of identification, a green-and-gold business card bearing the company name "Pearl Asian Mining, Inc." Alongside a headshot of a beaming Gamboa in a yellow headdress and red beads is the name Bae C. Catiguman. It means "Princess of Unity," she explains, a title she claims was given to her by warring indigenous tribes among whom she brokered peace in the mountains of the Philippines. "I am a princess," Gamboa/Catiguman says.
According to federal and state authorities, she is also a serial scammer. A resident of Redwood City, Gamboa has been investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraudulently soliciting investments in an allegedly phony Philippine gold-mining operation between 2004 and 2008.
She is also facing accusations that she stole more than $300,000 from a San Francisco real-estate investor with ties to the family of infamous "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss, and then threatened to dismember him this year when he tried to get his money back.
And that’s before the story of Pearlasia Gamboa starts to get really strange.
Read the rest of the tale: Fantasy Island: The Strange Tale of Alleged Fraudster Pearlasia Gamboa, SF Weekly>>
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Pearlasia Gamboa, Wikipedia>>