Aman agent gives documents to NBI on pyramid operations, offers to become witness

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ILIGAN CITY, Philippines — Maria Donna Coyme, an investment “agent’’ of the Aman Futures Group, has disclosed to the National Bureau of Investigation the bank accounts of the group where money collected by agents like her from investors were deposited.

She said the bank accounts were those of Manuel Amalilio and Fernando Luna, executives of Aman Futures that ran a Ponzi scheme that duped some 15,000 people of P12 billion.

Coyme, one of the 38 people on the Bureau of Immigration’s lookout bulletin, appeared before the NBI District Office here on Friday and said that she would provide investigators with a copy of Aman Futures’ daily transactions from Sept. 3 to Oct. 10.

She promised the NBI full cooperation in exchange for being accepted as a state witness.

Alex Cabornay, chief of the NBI-Iligan District Office, said Coyme had not surrendered as no warrant for her arrest had been issued by the courts.

In her statement, Coyme said she began as an investor in Aman last May, but later became one of the many “agents” of the firm tasked with managing and placing money into the group.

An agent was someone who managed funds from several people who pooled their money so they can comply with the minimum investment required by the group. The minimum investment, which was initially pegged at P1,000, later reached P200,000, according to reports.

Coyme, who initially thought Aman Futures was involved in foreign exchange trading, said she became convinced that the group was  aboveboard after noticing that prominent people — lawyers, politicians and policemen — were putting money in Aman Futures.

Coyme also narrated the process by which money was “invested” in the accounts.

She said people wanting to place money in the group must first secure a note from Fernando or Nimfa Luna. The note served as a “gate pass” that allowed people to deposit the amounts in bank accounts identified by  the Lunas.

The corresponding deposit slips were then brought to the Aman office which, in turn, would gave the investors corresponding receipts that indicated the amount of the capital, the total amount due, the interest rate and the due date or pay out of the “investment.”

Coyme said some “agents” charged anywhere from P500 to P2,000 for the gate pass. For her part, Coyme narrated that she charged 2 percent from the money being invested to cover expenses for the transactions.

Coyme said she had personally hired personnel to attend to those investing in her group.

The bulk of investments came in the middle of July after Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co issued a temporary permit for Aman Futures to be  able to operate, she said.

In an earlier interview, Co said the city government had canceled Aman’s  business permit because it had failed to present the required documents. He said a temporary permit was issued to Aman Futures to pay its investors and not to receive new investments.

Coyme said checks issued by Fernando and Nimfa Luna for pay-out or return on investments began bouncing last Sept. 3. To cover the initial bouncing checks, Coyme said the Lunas initially gave some investors partial cash payments with the promise of further payments in the future.

Beginning early September, Coyme said the amount of money coming in could no longer cover those it owed. It was then, Coyme said, that the Lunas began instructing their staff in the Aman office to tell investors that the group was having problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC, according to the Lunas, had been delaying the issuance of a supposed “secondary license and a separate AMLA certification.”

AMLA refers to the Anti Money-Laundering Act of 2001, which penalizes money laundering and looks into suspicious transactions involving a total amount in excess of P500,000 in one banking day.

The Lunas and Dhurwin Wenceslao, a trusted associate of the Lunas whom Coyme described as the person who knew the transactions and secrets of Aman, continued to receive checks and pay outs even after the checks for other investors started bouncing for lack of sufficient funds.

Coyme said Aman finally stopped paying out investors at 3 p.m. on Sept.  26, the day before the temporary permit issued by the Mayor’s office expired.

Before their disappearance on the night of Sept. 26, the Luna couple instructed the Aman staff members to tell investors that payment would resume after the SEC issued the needed documents, to assure them that their money would be returned.

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  • Mighty_Me

    Bernie Madoff just visited Philippines. Lack of oversight on the part of SEC.

  • vir_a

    AMLA is also sleeping. How could AMLA fail to detect when the total investment scam reached as much as 12 billion?

  • EdgarEdgar

    The pattern by now should be clear for all to see. PNoy’s administration always exerts their best effort long after the fact. AFTER THE FACT. After the bad guys have taken off with their loot. After the victims have been violently victimized. After lives have been irreversibly lost. After the grievous errors have been committed. After the suspects have fled with their tracks carefully covered. That is the discernible and unmistakable pattern of how PNoy’s administration works. They were alerted of this scam six months ago before June 2012 and they’re only acting now after the pyramid came crashing down. They could have tracked and check Aman Futures’ real financial score through AMLC for six long months. They could have, should have and would have done more if only PNoy and his administration had more sense of urgency and initiative to proactively stop the criminals in their tracks. But now all is lost. The money is gone. The conman out of our reach. All after the fact — this is how PNoy’s administration prefers to react to things, if they do at all. Simply put, let the crime happen in order for the government to get involved long after the fact.

    • ricomambo

      DTI already warned the people about this and yet they still went on with it. besides, any investor should also conduct due diligence to protect his/her money. why blame noynoy for this?

      • EdgarEdgar

        If you care to read my original post again, they had more than 6 months to act on this. Noynoy and his team had the power and technology to go after the bad guys before things went wrong. If you haven’t noticed, Noynoy and his team failed miserably to prevent the crime.

        Buyers beware — that’s a good point. Using your logic however, scammers and conmen should now be free to scam and con because the government already warned the people. If bad people are free to do bad things because the government has warned people of bad elements in society, what do we have governments for? Your eagerness to blame the victims for being victims will only embolden criminals and undermine the rule of law.

    • disqusted0fu

      Pnoy is a celebrity president… in movies, cops usually only arrive in the end right? when all the chaos has been done. that must be what he got accustomed of and he is applying it in his governance.

      • EdgarEdgar

        Pnoy’s nothing but a second-rate trying hard copycat. Lol!

      • TGM_ERICK

        EdEd you mightbe accused of plagiarism unless you own the script for i know that you are a prolific script writer. A miilion likes.

  • Mamang Pulis

    Mag ingat ka Maria—-murang mura ang dyes mil para sau sa mga toang inatraso mo.  Dyan ka na matulog sa loob ng NBI, ilikas mo na mga kaanak mo at malamang na buweltahan ka ng  mga yan.

  • disqusted0fu

    DOJ is powerless now according to De Lima. what else can the NBI do about it aside from just investigating???

  • NYPinoy

    Refuse Coyme as state witness. She is a significant enabler of this fraud.  Build a case without her help.  Put her into prison.  (Or release her to the people of Pagadian, of which she is scared.)

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