CDO ex-vice mayor, four others linked to a P400-million investment scam nabbed in Cebu
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The former vice mayor of Cagayan de Oro City and four other individuals were arrested inside a cafe in Mandaue City, Cebu for running off with P400 million in investments to their double-your-money scheme company.
Police Major Edwin Lacostales, chief of the Mandaue City unit of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Visayas (CIDG-7), said that the former vice mayor, Caesar Ian Acenas, was alleged to be a cohort of the main suspect, Ailyn Hope Matulac, 41, who was the subject of the entrapment operation of CIDG-7.
Arrested along with Matulac and Acenas were Arjun Gumban, 26, Maria Esperanza Makinano, 34, and Adjetar Daya, Jr., 35, during the operation at 10 p.m. of Tuesday, October 22, 2019.
Lacostales said they have been in hot pursuit of the group for at least two weeks after multiple estafa complaints were lodged against them in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City.
“Yung modus nila, nabanggit nga mag-offer sila ng scheme, may mga detalye na nilalagay na kapag mag-invest ka nga P5,000 o P10,000 hanggang P500,000 yung maximum nila. Tutubo raw ito, parang double your money, or 15 percent or 20 percent per month. Malaki na ang nakuha nila sa Mindanao.”
(Their modus is to offer a scheme, details on how to grow an investor’s money so they invest P5,000 or P20,000 up to a maximum of P500,000. They said the money will grow double, or at a rate of 15 to 20 percent a month. They were able to fool many investors in Mindanao.)
Various investors were encouraged to invest into their companies named “NH Bliss Incorporated” and “BNHPA Holdings Incorporated,” but these companies were not authorized by the Security and Exchange Commission to collect investments.
Lacostales also revealed that the group managed to run away with P400 million investment gathered in six months from April 2019 to October 2019, beginning from Cagayan de Oro City then eventually spreading to Davao City.
“Bago lang sila dito sa Cebu. Wala silang opisina. (They are new in Cebu. They do not have an office),” he said.
CIDG-7 said that Matulac is the leader and the group and she will be charged with estafa. The rest of the group including the former vice mayor are yet to be interrogated to identify their connection to the double-your-money scheme and whether or not they will face the same charges as that of Matulac.
One of the complainant agains the five suspects said he invested half a million pesos to Matulac’s company and was promised to earn double his investment in 45 days.
“Pinapasok daw nila sa trading nila ganon. Pinapasok nila sa mga places na kanilang tina-tap. (They told us our investments will go to various tradings. They will place the money in investments places they can tap),” said the 47-year-old Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW).
The OFW said the money was supposed to be for the education of his children, but he became worried when after the promised 45 days, he never received any of the promised return.
This prompted him to file a complaint against the group.
The five suspects are currently detained at the CIDG-7 compound headquarters in Cebu City./elb
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