Rasuman’s pyramid scam a family affair, court case showsBy Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The multi-million-peso investment scam perpetrated by Jachob “Coco” Rasuman was apparently a family affair.
This emerged after the Department of Justice recommended on Wednesday, the filing of syndicated estafa case not only again against Rasuman, his father, mother, brother and his wife but also for the first time his father-in-law and two other brothers.
The DOJ was expected to file the cases against Rasuman and relatives at the Cagayan de Oro City regional trial court on Wednesday.
It was the second time that the young Rasuman faced a syndicated estafa case since November 2012 where he and 11 others, including his father, mother, a brother and his wife were slapped with the same charges at a Cagayan de Oro regional trial court.
In two resolutions dated Jan. 10, the DOJ special panel of prosecutors and the National Prosecution Service recommended the new charges based on two complaints filed by Naim Sampao and Achmad Sangcaan who claimed they were duped of more than P30 million in investments.
In the resolution resolving Sampao’s complaint, the DOJ prosecutors said there was probable cause to indict Rasuman, his father and former Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Basher Rasuman; his wife Princess; his father-in-law Sultan Yahya “Jerry” Tomawis; his brothers Vice Mayor Maning Rasuman, Jerome and Basher Jr., for syndicated estafa under Article 315, par.2(a) of the Revised Penal Code.
“..(I)t would appear that Coco together with other respondents, being related to each other either by blood or by affinity, holding themselves as one group involved in the business that offered a minimum of 70 percent return of investment to entice more individuals to invest in their scheme is clearly guilty of fraud because, as it turned out, respondents’ business venture was false and, contrary to their assurances, they were not able to sustain paying the large amount of interest they undertook to pay to their investors despite demands,” the resolution said.
Based on Sampao’s testimony, he said Rasuman had enticed him to invest in his company while his wife would collect his investment if her husband was not there. Rasuman’s father and father-in-law also helped in encouraging investors to join Rasuman while his brothers acted as “associates/officers/agents of his business.
“They are implicated because of their active participation in managing, collecting, assuring and by their other acts designed to encourage investors to trust and invest in Coco’s business scheme,” the resolution said.
Sampao claimed he invested a total of P14.285 million but he said Rasuman owed him P26.1 million as this included his 70 percent return of investment.
In the second resolution that was based on Sangcaan’s complaint, the DOJ recommended the filing of syndicated estafa case against Rasuman, his wife, father, brother Basher Jr, his father-in-law and this time, his mother Emma.
The resolution said respondents “have participated and acted in conspiracy with one another in defrauding” Sangcaan, who claimed he invested P5.13 million and expected to be paid P15 million inclusive of his return of investment.
Only Rasuman and his father-in-law had submitted their counter affidavits, with Rasuman said he could not be charged of syndicated estafa because he was the sole proprietor of his business and conspiracy against him and his relatives cannot be proven. His father-in-law said he did not support Rasuman’s business or allow it to be operated in his gasoline station.