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Despite indictments, online investment scammers still thriving on social media

By Jigger J. Jerusalem
Contributor .

DESPITE the indictment of several alleged operators of an online investment scam, there are still people who are engaging in the same modus on social media, according to the National Bureau of Investigation-10 (NBI-10).

Following the large-scale swindling and estafa charges against six suspects, NBI-10 has still monitored Facebook users enticing their friends and acquaintances to invest their money with the promise of doubling it in a couple of days, much like the Ponzi scheme.

“There are still people who are doing the online investment scam on Facebook,” said NBI-10 head agent Alex Cabornay, adding that they are keeping an eye on these fraudsters.

Cabornay said he has been monitoring Facebook accounts posting investment opportunities, adding he was surprised why there are still people who make such tempting offers on the internet when cases have already been filed against those who victimized hundreds of investors.

To date, those who are now facing several counts of large-scale swindling and estafa and violation of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act are Antonette Sestoso, Rhea Mae Vallejos, Wenchelmie Acosta, Mary Ann Villapa, Maria Kathrina Cabeltes, and Jelie Rose Oredimo, according to the NBI-10 files.

Cabornay said the six suspected scammers have allegedly defrauded tens of millions of pesos from more than five hundred people in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.

As of Tuesday, Cabornay said they are still preparing to file charges against 17 other people involved in an online investment scam.

That’s why, he said, he found it hard to believe that there are those who still make investment offers on Facebook, even though the bureau has already filed cases before the City Prosecutor’s Office in the past two weeks.

He said these people can get away with it if they just post about online investment on their accounts, but once someone files a complaint, that’s the time the NBI will move in to enforce the law.

“If you will not stop with this online investment scam, we have no choice but to entrap you,” Cabornay said, referring to individuals making such offers online.

He said if these online handlers want to do legitimate business, they should comply with the necessary government regulations, like registering their enterprise to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and other agencies.

Cabornay said these business operators are required so that the operators, those who handle the money, are properly established, identified, their background and records scrutinized, and they are monitored by concerned government agencies.

“In fact, they should be bonded and insured, in case they will abscond the money of the group, the members can run after this guarantee,” the agent added.

Cabornay has even encouraged the complainants to organize themselves into a cooperative so they can earn decent income from legitimate business dealings.

“I’ll even donate seed money as their start-up capital for their cooperative,” he said.


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