NBI probers believe Aman was preceded by even bigger Rasuman scam



MANUEL AMALILIO: Suspected mastermind disappears. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Before Aman Futures, there was the Jachob “Coco”’ Rasuman group in Marawi City which, according to the National Bureau of Investigation, got even more money from its investors before it was shut down.

Virgilio Mendez, NBI deputy director for regional services, noted however that Rasuman’s group, which was founded in 2010, had a much smaller number of victims compared with Aman Futures, headed by Manuel Amalilio.

“We cannot at this time commit to an exact figure but our estimate based on the investigation is that the Rasuman group got more money and had fewer victims compared with the Aman Futures,” Mendez said.

Rasuman got more from its investors, Mendez said, noting as an example that Rasuman received P300 million from a group of only 29 investors in Cagayan de Oro.

“The investors of Rasuman were moneyed people, while those of Aman Ventures were ordinary people,’’ he added.

Mendez  said Rasuman and Aman Amalilio had no personal relationship although Rasuman also became a victim of Aman Futures.

“They do not know each other. However our investigation showed that Rasuman, in a last effort to save his venture, invested all his money along that of his investors with Aman Futures and lost it all,” Mendez said.

According to intelligence reports gathered by the NBI, Rasuman is married to a Maranao royal, Princess Tomawis, whose family is  prominent in the region’s business community.

The reports portrayed Rasuman as a Marawi businessman whose businesses ranged from lone distributorship of Holcim Cement, restaurants, the buying and selling of cars, fuel and others.

“Before the downfall of Rasuman, he was considered a hero for raising the standard of living of people who initially profited from his double-your-money scheme,” Mendez said.

Mendez added that unlike the victims of Aman who became violent, the Rasuman case was “resolved in a peaceful solution through the intervention of religious leaders in the area.”

He said Rasuman’s victims were mostly Muslims  like him.

“The victims were urged by the religious leaders to stand down and give the family a chance to pay,” Mendez said, adding that Rasuman’s family promise to pay all the investors by February of 2013.

Mendez said Rasuman was now in the custody of the Philippine National Police.

The NBI report stated that Rasuman’s modus operandi was similar to Aman’s also differed in some aspects.

While Aman Futures started in the market, Rasuman began his by getting into buying and selling cars to raise quick cash.

He said Rasuman would offer to buy a car with a market value of only P100,000 for a higher amount of P150,000 but the seller would have to wait for two months before actually getting paid. He would then sell it at a lower price to raise money quickly to invest in other ventures.

In 2010, an NBI report said Rasuman hired at least 50 agents to look for investors and only he would deal with them. But eventually, for unknown reasons, Rasuman stopped accepting cash investments himself and assigned a trusted person to receive the money in his behalf.

The agents were promised by Rasuman 80 percent return on investment and these agents in return were to look for investors and promise them a 40- to 70-percent profit.

“The difference would serve as the commission for the agents,” the report said.

The report said all transactions were in cash and carried out in the privacy of Rasuman’s office  in Iligan City.

“Rasuman did not accepts checks from his agents; he signed an unofficial receipt acknowledging the investment after he was given the cash,” the report said.

Initially Rasuman and his agents “avoid bank transactions and only negotiate in cash.”

Bank transactions were used only if an investor  insisted on having a post-dated check as a guarantee.

Rasuman went around escorted always by armed men.

The NBI report also spoke of local officials who were involved in the Rasuman scheme.

Based on statements from those “in the know” these included mayors, a congressman and a military commander.

“We could not say yet if they are involved or victims” Mendez said.

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  • EdgarEdgar

    But this is all after the fact now. DOJ, NBI and Noynoy’s administration had all the time in the world to go after the bad guys since June 2012 or even earlier. They knew about Aman Futures and its potential perils even before June 2012. Instead of digging deeper and leveraging on AMLC’s capabilities, Noynoy’s administration decided to devote more time and resources in going after GMA. Despite Corona’s ouster in June 2012 that freed up much of the administration’s bandwidth, none of the spare capacity was reallocated to dismantling this fraudulent pyramid scheme. De Lima can claim she’s powerless till she turns blue, but none of that absolves her from criminal negligence. Noynoy can resort to excuses and wag his sheer impotence against investor greed till he turns blue. Or indulge in finger-pointing and lay the blame back at the door of the victims themselves. But none of that changes the fact that Noynoy did not life a finger to prevent this house of cards from going too high while there was still time. 6 long months is a lot of time. At the very least, Noynoy and his team had 6 long months to stop the Malaysian conman in his tracks. Only a shameless president would shamelessly show his shameful impotence, all too willingly one might add, if only to evade responsibility.

  • boybakal

    Neglect of our gov’t officials. From SEC to NBI, Police and LGUs.
    It is right there in their faces, operating with impunity but doing nothing.

  • padrefaura

    while it is a shame that the government did not act immediately to avoid this scam, but the bigger chunk of blame should be on the investors themselves. 

    it was their greed that blinded them in investing in this scam. 

    honestly, i do not feel sorry for them. naging swapang sila kaya naloko sila. 

    • joshmale2004

      You hit the nail right on the head. In another news where some of the victims were interviewed, they admitted that they somehow feel that they were investing in a pyramid scheme. However, since it is a new company, they never expected it to go down so soon as they were expecting pyramid schemes normally reach years before they go bankrupt so they took the risk as initial investors were paid. Bottomline, GREED overtook their wise wisdom and gambled on the scheme.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1565547285 El Mussavi

      If you were in Lanao at the height of the scam, you will bet your last pair of socks to buy whatever you desire. Politicians, reputable professionals and businessmen are testimony to the success of the scheme so a poor like me will naturally be lured. Hence, I say the government, who is the protector of the people should be blamed. More, Coco Rasuman declared bankruptcy on July 30, 2012. I just wonder why the government snubbed the COCO Rasuman scam and remained silent on the operation of AMAN in Pagadian during that time.

  • http://noorlucman.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php Noor_Lucman

    The Royal Houses are not in any way associated with this scam. Thousands are affected in Lanao provinces.

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