CIDG warns against large-scale investment scam

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THE Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has alerted the public against a new investment scheme that offers co-ownership of a chain of imported goods and grocery hubs with the arrest of a top corporate executive in Antipolo City.

In an entrapment operation at their Fresh Smart Antipolo City-based hub, the CIDG arrested one Marvin Juarez Ojeda moments after receiving a wad of cash from operatives posing as investors.

Initial reports had Ojeda and wife [whose name is temporarily withheld] under surveillance following complaints filed by individuals who were enticed to become co-owners of their business for a “minimal investment” amounting to P500,000 and up.

However, after getting the funds, the suspects could no longer be located or contacted.

Among the victims were police officers and elected local government officials. The CIDG, however, would not elaborate.

An insider, however, told this reporter that the suspects have long been in the police radar for the last three years for the same scheme. Even before being busted for their Fresh Smart Investment Program, they have also been dragged as the brains behind the co-ownership program of the famous Yumboss Putok Batok Restaurant sometime in 2019.

Both schemes, according to the CIDG, are not covered by any secondary license, which is a government requirement to ensure legitimacy of the scheme.

Asked how many have been conned by the suspects, the insider said that “Taking into consideration the time that the suspects have been into the practice may actually translate to thousands of victims. On the assumption na isanlibo lang ang nag-invest, it means may P500 million na pumasok sa kanila. What if we double the figure — that makes a whopping one billion-peso fraud.” the source said.   

Digging deeper into the scheme, an employee in a brief chat exchange claims to have witnessed the actual arrest. which took place at the Antipolo City hub. He said that they would only see their boss whenever they’re expecting visitors to hand over their investment to their boss.

Sought to elaborate, the employee, who requested anonymity until after they get their salaries, said that the unknowing investors are usually asked to visit their physical store at the RCBC Corporate Center in Makati and another at the Fort Bonifacio Global City and Taguig City. Turnover of investments, however, takes place in other branches – one of which is in Antipolo where cops finally caught up on one of the two suspects

His worry, though, is that most of them have not been receiving their salaries for months.

Efforts to get the side of the suspects and the business entity proved futile despite repeated efforts.

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