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By: Julius N. Leonen and Benjie B. Talisic June 06,2018 - 10:36 PM

Foreigner sold P28M worth of non-existent goods online while in hiding

A 24-year-old Briton had been hiding in the Philippines where he continued his racket of selling non-existent goods on Facebook and eBay.

On Saturday, the long arm of the law caught up with Jason Ainsworth who was arrested in a subdivision in Sitio Banawa, Barangay Guadalupe in Cebu City where he transferred just two weeks ago.

His brother, Jared Williams, who went with him to the Philippines to hide, remained at large.

Ainsworth was brought to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City where he had been detained at the Bureau of Immigration detention facility while his deportation was being processed.

The Ainsworth brothers were allegedly involved in a large-scale internet fraud and money laundering activities in the United Kingdom.

They became fugitives after fleeing to the Philippines in September 2015, just shortly after they were released on bail by a British court.

“It was reported that they continued to profit from their online racket while in the Philippines as their victims’ money were laundered to them via money transfers by their cohorts in the UK,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente in a statement.

He said the UK National Crime Agency asked the help of the Philippine government to arrest the brothers upon learning that they were hiding in the country.

But even while hiding in the Philippines, the brothers continued their illegal operation.

Bobby Raquepo, BI chief of the Fugitive Search Unit (FSU), said the brothers may have already collected £400,000 or more than P28 million in an exchange rate of P70 to one pound by selling non-existent goods on social media.

The victims sent their payments through Paypal, which were then withdrawn by the brothers or transferred to the bank accounts of the alleged fraudsters.

“IP addresses, email accounts, phone numbers, and addresses used in the transactions were all traced to the Ainsworth brothers,” Raquepo said.

In a text message to the Inquirer on Wednesday, Dana Mengote, BI spokeswoman, said the FSU agents raided Ainsworth’s residence at Josefa Country Homes in Guadalupe, Cebu City, on Saturday and arrested the Briton.

Basilo Pasumala, the security guard of Josefa Country Homes, said Ainsworth just transferred to the subdivision two weeks ago together with two women and a child.

“He usually greets me whenever he passes by,” he said in Cebuano.

Pasumala said he was surprised when immigration officers arrested Ainsworth last Saturday. “I was shocked. I never thought he was a fugitive,” he said.

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TAGS: Briton, fugitive, in, nabbed

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