KAPA founder faces arrest for syndicated estafa

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz - CDN Digital | March 24,2020 - 09:25 AM

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Joel Apolinario, the founder and president of the Kapa-Community Ministry International (KAPA), faces arrest anew, but this time, it would be for a non-bailable offense of syndicated estafa.

According to an emailed press release from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Cagayan de Oro City Regional Trial Court Branch 21 issued on February 18, 2020 a warrant of arrest against Apolinario and eight others for syndicated estafa.

The other respondents are Junnie Apolinario, Maria Pella Sevilla, Cristobal Barabad, Nonita Urbano, Nelia Nino, Jouelyn Del Castillo, Joji Jusay and Albert Buhangbuhang.

Read more: SEC warnings on KAPA and others

According to the Supreme Court, Section 1 of P.D. No. 1689 cites estafa or swindling committed by a syndicate of five or more persons as one of the elements of syndicated estafa.

Earlier, the Bislig City Regional Trial Court Branch 29 had issued warrants of arrest against Apolinario, KAPA corporate secretary Reyna Apolinario, trustee Margie Danao and promoters Reniones Catubigan, Marisol Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico and Moises Mopia, for violations of Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).

On February 19 and 27, 2020, Mr. and Mrs. Apolinario, and Catubigan respectively surrendered and posted bail for their temporary liberty while facing the investment fraud charges filed by prosecutors at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In separate information, the DOJ has accused KAPA of “willfully, unlawfully and criminally” engaging in the selling or offering for sale or distribution of securities in the Philippines without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the SEC.

Read more: I’m sorry for telling the truth on KAPA

Accordingly, the DOJ charged KAPA, Mr. and Mrs. Apolinario and Danao with violating Sections 8(8.1), 26.1 and 28 of the SRC. It also indicted Diaz, Fernandico, Mopia and Catubigan for violation of Section 26.1 of the SRC for promoting the investment scam.

The DOJ further charged Diaz before the Antipolo Regional Trial Court for violation of Section 28. It filed similar informations against Mopia and Fernandico with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 93, which then issued warrants of arrest against the respondents on December 2, 2019.

The criminal proceedings stemmed from the complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on June 18, 2019 against KAPA, after finding the group had employed a Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme is an investment program that offers impossibly high returns and pays these returns to early investors out of the capital contributed by later investors.

According to SEC, KAPA enticed members to make “donations” with a promise of “blessings” equivalent to 30 percent of their donations to be paid out every month and for life. However, KAPA did not have any concrete and stable business or source of income.

Read more: Duterte wants Kapa, other investment scams probed, shut down

The commission noted that the investment scheme was doomed to fail because KAPA could not possibly sustain paying out a 30 percent monthly interest without recruiting new members and soliciting more money from the public.

According to SEC, KAPA would need at least P15 billion monthly to pay five million members who have invested at least P10,000 each. Without new members or additional investments coming in, the pooled funds would have diminished by the third month.

KAPA also violated Sections 8(8.1), 26.1 and 28 of the SRC. 

In a resolution issued on September 25, 2019, the DOJ found probable cause to bring charges against KAPA, affirming the findings of the SEC. /bmjo

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TAGS: founder and president, Joel Apolinario, KAPA, Kapa-Community Ministry International, syndicated estafa

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