NBI files estafa case vs 39 in alleged investment scam
MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) a multimillion-peso syndicated estafa case against 39 officials and individuals linked to a company that allegedly defrauded more than 1,000 investors in an investment scam.
A case of syndicated estafa and violation of the Securities Regulation Code has been filed against 39 officials and members of Alabel-Maasim Credit Cooperative (ALAMCCO), which is also referred to as Alabel-Maasim Mining Company and Alabel-Maasim Small Scale Mining Cooperative (ALMAMICO).
ALAMCCO was founded by Jerson Cagang, who is its chairman. Cagang, who is said to be a pastor, and is married to Fe, who is also one of the directors and among the respondents in the complaint.
Complainants Bobby Gonzalo, former security man of Jerson Cagang, and brother Maximo Gonzalo Jr. of Davao del Norte said they were used as “authorized representatives” to look for investors.
Bobby said he had a personal investment of P1,240,000, while his 415 subordinates had allegedly made investments worth over P40-million to ALMAMICO/ALAMCCO.
On the other hand, Maximo said that he and 621 subordinates invested a total of P21,051,500 in ALMAMICO/ALAMCCO. Maximo said they were promised a return of their capital investments but the company folded up.
Based on the complaint, over 1,000 of those who invested from December last year until June this year were government officials and employees, including those in the military, the police, local government units, and the courts.
According to the NBI, ALAMCCO, in the guise as a credit cooperative, solicited money or investments from the public. In return, their investors were promised with a 35% return or interest per month.
However, an investigation showed that the firm was not a registered issuer of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, proprietary/non-proprietary shares or membership certificates based on the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But ALAMCCO was registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and had 31 members and seven board of directors.
The NBI confirmed the activities of ALAMCCO after conducting a test buy.
They secured search warrants from Manila City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali and raided three offices of ALAMCCO/ALMAMICO located in General Santos City, South Cotabato, and Sarangani that resulted in the recovery of ALAMCCO certificates of deposits and ALAMCCO membership forms.
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