P500-M pyramid scam suspect using mayor’s name nabbed
A 25-year-old woman who allegedly used the name of Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez and his brother, Rep. Eric Olivarez, to dupe people into investing more than P500 million in a pyramid scheme was arrested in an entrapment operation Monday night.
A police report said that Mary Angelaine Libanan Martirez, a resident of Las Piñas City, was apprehended at Better Living Subdivision in Parañaque City around 11 p.m. after more than 30 investors complained that she failed to give them monthly payments in return for their investments.
A press release from Mayor Olivarez’s office said that based on reports, Martirez had convinced people to give her their money by dropping his name as well as that of his brother.
“In this regard, the general public is hereby warned that the undersigned do not have any connection…whatsoever to [Martirez],” the mayor said.
Olivarez added that when he learned of the matter, he immediately asked National Bureau of Investigation director Virgilio Mendez to conduct an investigation.
“Further, the public or any victim of the alleged investment scam is advised to file immediately the appropriate complaint before the police, NBI or proper authority,” he said.
Senior Supt. Ariel Andrade, Parañaque police chief, said that the suspect had promised each investor a monthly return amounting to 20 percent of their principal investment.
“So if you invested P1 million, you were supposed to get P200,000 monthly. At first, they were being paid (from the investments of other investors) but after some time, the payments stopped,” Andrade said.
He added that the initial investments of individuals from “rich families” ranged from P5 million to P70 million.
The police report said transactions took place from May 2014 to July 31 this year.
According to Andrade, Martirez’s arrest took place during her supposed meetup with the investors for their monthly payments.
“During that time, the (investors) were already accompanied by the police,” he said.
Charges of syndicated estafa are set to be filed against Martirez and her husband Mark Anthony Martirez, 24, who is also believed to be involved in the scheme. However, he has yet to be arrested.
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