Alleged scammer nabbed after taking away over P200k from victims
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Operatives from the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) arrested an alleged scammer for taking away more than P200,000 in cash from multiple victims through various schemes.
The suspect was identified as Juvelyn de los Trico, who is unemployed and a resident of Lower Nivel Hills, Brgy. Lahug, Cebu City.
De los Trico was nabbed in an entrapment operation carried out by NBI-7 last Tuesday, April 27 in a food court inside a mall in downtown Cebu City.
It stemmed from a complainant, Sheena Faustino, who sought the agency’s help after she claimed to have been scammed by de los Trico.
The suspect is now under the custody of NBI-7.
Faustino told reporters in an interview on Thursday, April 29 that de los Trico promised her a job in Dubai as a customer service representative in exchange for fees to process documents and visas needed for her employment there.
But the 31-year-old victim said she started suspecting de los Trico’s motives when she observed that the latter was hesitating to give in to the former’s requests to show the documents she paid for.
“It was only when she sent me a photo of my supposed visa documents that I knew it was a scam because not only was the name field blurred, the gender field stated I was male. But I am a female!” Faustino said in Cebuano.
She said she shelled out and gave de los Trico at least P30,000 for the promised employment in Dubai.
“I thought she was in Dubai because she told me her company there was hiring more people. And it was direct hiring that’s why she was the one who offered to me,” Faustino explained.
Faustino added that she initially trusted de los Trico because they were former colleagues in a business processing outsource (BPO) company based in I.T. Park, Cebu City.
“When she offered me another job overseas and asked for P12,000, that’s when I decided to seek help from the NBI-7 to entrap her,” she said.
Shortly after de los Trico’s arrest last Tuesday, other individuals came forward to NBI-7 to report that they, too, fell victim to her scams.
Among them was fruit Dominic Largo who told reporters in a separate interview that the suspect offered him to invest in a corporation which turned out to be non-existent.
Largo said a total of P56,000 of his hard-earned savings from selling fruits were sent to de los Trico’s hands. But the latter no longer returned the money to him.
“She told me she will return the cash within one week. I trusted her because her live-in partner and my friend are close mutuals,” he explained in Cebuano.
Largo also said that in several instances, de los Trico posed as a pediatrician, an accusation the suspect vehemently denied.
Another woman, who requested anonymity, came to NBI-7 on Thursday to report that she was also duped by de los Trico who happened to be her classmate in elementary.
The female complainant said her former classmate promised to buy her a smartphone from abroad back when the suspect was still based in Dubai.
“There was no cellphone and when I asked for her to return the money, she never did,” she added in Cebuano.
She also said de los Trico took away a total of P190,000 from her, through her credit cards, to not only process her supposed job overseas but also to buy airplane tickets bound for Dubai.
Lawyer Renan Augustus Oliva, director of NBI-7, said they filed cases against de los Trico last Wednesday, April 28 before the City Prosecutor for violating the Migrant Workers Act (Republic Act No. 8042) in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10175).
Oliva said further investigations showed that de los Trico also set up dubious Facebook accounts in an attempt to legitimize her claims that the company she worked for is hiring Filipinos for jobs overseas.
“The name of this company was U-Hire and when we checked with POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), they said U-Hire has no certificate or authorization from the government to hire workers for overseas employment through direct capacity,” Oliva explained.
The NBI-7 director also said de los Trico could face additional cases if the two other complainants – Largo and the suspect’s former elementary classmate – will pursue taking legal actions against her.
While admitting that she was not able to return some of the money given to her, de los Trico denied that she was the one who offered them jobs.
“It was actually them who saw these overseas jobs online and I was just facilitating the process,” she said in Cebuano.
The suspect also denied disguising herself as a doctor. She also claimed she never offered Largo to invest in a corporation.
“I told him that I lost the money and I was not able to return it to him,” de los Trico added.
But when asked how she lost the fruit vendor’s money, de los Trico was tight-lipped.
In the meantime, Oliva urged the public to be extremely circumspect in job postings online, particularly those based abroad.
“In challenging times like the pandemic, we understand why some of us get attracted to job offerings online. But we advise everyone to be extra cautious on these because some of these are fake and scams,” said Oliva in a mix of English and Cebuano.
“We suggest to check the company if they have certification from POEA to hire Filipinos for overseas, or check with POEA if these companies or individuals are registered with them,” he added. /rcg
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