400 file syndicated estafa case vs firm caught in investment scam
MANILA, Philippines — Over 400 complainants filed on Tuesday a case of syndicated estafa against the owners, staff and lawyer of Eleven77 R2AM Road to Success International Co., for failing to return to the investors their money following an alleged raid on the company last week, which made it to close shop.
Lawyer Albert Rosario and company presenter Herminigildo Basco Jr. are now in police custody after the infuriated investors made a citizen’s arrest on Monday night. The two suspects met the investors at around 8:45 p.m. in the company’s office at De Oro Building, Sierra Madre Street, Barangay Malamig, in Mandaluyong City, to discuss with them the terms of how the company would return their money.
In their joint complaint affidavit, at least 412 investors suing the company said that it announced on Aug. 4 it was closing shop because it was robbed and its assets “were frozen by the authorities.”
The company allegedly told the complainants that on Monday last week, agents from the National Bureau of Investigation “raided” their office. One of the complainants, Luisito, who requested that his full name be kept, said that the company even claimed that the agents took with them P700,000.
Luisito, however, denied that there was a raid, noting that investors present when the two supposed NBI agents came into the office at around 7:30 p.m. even saw Basco “shake hands with them.” He added that they later found out that the NBI “did not raid the company nor was [it] being investigated.”
The supposed raid and the freezing of the company’s accounts the following day were the reasons the company gave to investors for closing shop, Luisito said.
When asked by the Philippine Daily Inquirer why the company was closing shop, Rosario, who wasn’t able to show his lawyer’s ID to authorities, invoked the lawyer-client confidentiality rule, adding that he had “no personal knowledge.” He, however, maintained that it’s “true” there was a raid in the company; and that if owners Marcos Tersol and Raquel Cordova wanted to discontinue their business, “they had the right to do so because they’re the owners.”
According to Luisito, a former overseas worker who invested around P300,000 in the company, the terms discussed to them verbally by Rosario and Basco on Monday night was that the company would “only return 1 percent to 8 percent of our investment on a last in-first out basis,” naturally infuriating the investors.
The payment scheme meant that those new to the company would be the priority.
As of this writing, Mandaluyong deputy chief of police for administration, Supt. Cresenciano Landicho, said that they were still uncertain about the total amount supposedly scammed from the investors, noting that more complainants have been coming to their office.
Earlier reports placed the amount at P50 million, but Luisito said this was “too small,” owing to the fact that the company had around 5,000 investors, with some investing P2 million in the company, which started its operations in February.
Apart from Rosario, Basco, Cordova and Tersol, also included in the charge sheet were company representatives Brandy Tacsay, R. Peralta, Mary Grace Rivas, Ammie Tersol and Ronie Raotraot. All, except Rosario and Basco, are at large.
Mark, another complainant who invested P200,000 in the company since May, said that he was lured into the company because of its promise of a weekly return of 20 percent and free supply of rice. A portion of the income, however, was converted into products such as coffee and hand soap.
The web designer from Pasig said that the company, registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission as URM Inc., told them that it had businesses such as franchises of a popular convenience store in Makati and Baclaran, a security agency, and a mining company in Butuan. The company also claimed to be a supplier of cement products to Holcim and La Farge.
(Editor’s Note: Holcim Philippines Inc. later contacted INQUIRER.net to clarify that Eleven77 R2AM Road to Success International Co. and its owners are not in their list of direct customers.)
Mark, who was not expecting anymore to get the full amount he invested in the company, said he was hoping to get justice for what happened to them. He also reminded those who not ventured into investment and networking companies “to know how the company earns” and “not to join those offering outrageous interest [rates.]” SFM
News handpicked by our editors
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.