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Globe Asiatique used ‘Ponzi’ scam–Pag-IBIG

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:42:00 04/07/2011

Filed Under: Housing Mortgage & Loans, Crime and Law and Justice, Investments

MANILA, Philippines?Property developer Globe Asiatique (GA) used a ?modified Ponzi? scheme to siphon off money amounting to P6.6 billion from the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) to develop its Xevera projects in Pampanga, according to the housing finance agency head.

?Globe Asiatique essentially employed a modified Ponzi scheme in defrauding Pag-IBIG Fund,? said Pag-IBIG president and chief executive officer Darlene Marie Berberabe in her report to Vice President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chair Jejomar C. Binay.

According to Berberabe, a Ponzi scheme ?is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors.?

This type of scam was also used by Legacy Group owner Celso de los Angeles, who was charged for siphoning millions of pesos from depositors and plan holders through alleged irregular investment transactions.

Berberabe said GA paid fake borrowers to become instant Pag-IBIG members who would be able to obtain housing loans. The borrowers, however, had no intention of becoming legitimate buyers of the units at Xevera, Globe Asiatique?s multi-billion peso project in Pampanga province.

?Since the transaction purportedly involves the borrowing of money for the purchase of housing units, the proceeds necessarily went to Globe Asiatique,? Berberabe said.

?As the buyers are fakes, not a single loan amortization is paid by them. Amortizations are actually paid by Globe Asiatique. This is a fact admitted by Mr. Delfin Lee, Globe Asiatique?s president,? she added.

Berberabe also said GA exerted ?painstaking efforts? to maintain all of its accounts in Xevera current, resulting in a near perfect 99 percent Performing Accounts Ratio (PAR) and hampering earlier detection of the fraudulent activity.

In October 2010, Vice President Binay ordered Pag-IBIG to blacklist GA, barring the company from obtaining additional loans from the shelter financing agency.

?After Pag-IBIG Fund stopped taking out housing loans for Globe Asiatique, its PAR drastically dropped and now stands a measly 20 percent. This is further proof of the fictitiousness of the great majority of Globe Asiatique?s borrowers and that the loan proceeds from Pag-IBIG are the same moneys being used to service the accounts,? Berberabe said.

She also noted that in contrast with the original Ponzi operation, which is destined to collapse because scammers earn less than what they pay to investors, the GA scam was bound to continue for a long time because the loans they secure are way higher than the required payment for the housing units.

GA was able to receive an average loan take-out of P680,000 compared to the monthly average amortization of only P5,000 for a term of 30 years.

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