P50-M INVESTMENT SCAM
MORE victims of an investment scam trooped to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Dagupan City for assistance to file syndicated estafa cases even as several cases have already been filed with the Prosecutor’s Office since July 30.
NBI Dagupan Investigation Agent Mark Caceres said eight cases have been filed separately and more complaints are set for filing by other victims.
Caceres said as of August 1, 60 victims have already sought NBI’S help.
In a statement released by P/Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula, police regional director, he said eight persons allegedly involved in the investment scam have been arrested in a police operation conducted on July 2.
Arrested were Hannah Christina E. Marquez, Mhay Ann V. Lanuza, Aurelia N. Marquez, Kristine Coleen Ada Martin, Haydie Marie E. Ramos, Janice E. Dalusong, Richelle B. Pangilinan and Camille Cyre Dela Cruz, all of legal age.
Based on initial investigation conducted, the masterminds of the investment scam were identified as Renato Gabiola, a former municipal councilor of Sta. Barbara town, and his live-in partner, Sharmaine Junio Castillo alias “Shamee” of Bayambang.
C & G Dry Goods Company located in Barangay Camantiles in Urdaneta City recruited investors through Facebook and Urdaneta Buy and Sell.
Caceres said charges have been filed by the NBI against Gabiola, Castillo and employees of their two companies.
But Gabiola and Castillo were also sued by their staff because they claim they, too, reportedly invested money but were duped, Caceres said.
Among those who filed complaints were administrators of the Facebook account of the group who invested as much as P300,000.
Caceres said one complainant claimed he was defrauded of P9-million while another complainant is demanding the return of his P6-million investment.
The suspects recruited investors online and promised to pay 50 percent interest weekly of the amount they invested, i.e., a P5,000 earns P2,500 in weekly interest and capital was redeemable within 7 days, Caceres said.
The modus operandi, however, was to entice investors not to withdraw their earned interests, and to allow these to be part of their capital in order to earn more.
In an interview with P/Superintendent Rollyfer Capoquian, Urdaneta City police chief, said an estimated P50-million was collected and is now the subject of the cases filed.
Capoquian estimated that the scam victimized some 2,000 in Pangasinan, and about 150 victims are from Urdaneta City.
He said among the victims were vendors, teachers, OFWs and others solicited through a chat group created for the investors.
“Some claimed they received interest payments for the first three months and nothing followed after,” Capoquian said. “Pinatikim lang pala sila,” he added.
Cheyenne Pearl G Nelvis a.k.a. “Chin-Chin’’ of La Union, an employee of the couple, managed to escape. She and other identified masterminds in hiding are the subject of NBI and police manhunt. (With report from Leonardo Micua)
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