By Erwin Mascariñas
BUTUAN City–Authorities arrested a suspect in an alleged investment scheme that promised a 70-percent return of investment and seized some P23 million in cash when they raided a safehouse in Nasipit town, Agusan del Norte, on Wednesday night.
Police presented a suspect, 23-year-old Bernard Degorio dela Cruz of Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur. But it turned out that dela Cruz is only a brother the manager of FRX Rice Trading Investment or “Forex” identified as Dimber Celiz.
Investigators said dela Cruz drove for Celiz who managed to elude arrest because she allegedly took another vehicle and took off.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) agents raided the group’s safehouse in Barangay Cubi-cubi, Nasipit town, Agusan del Norte, at around 7:30 pm. They were backed by the Nasipit police and soldiers from the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion.
Police said it was an operation in relation to the Securities Regulation Code.
The group Forex, said to be based in Bayugan City, allegedly promised a 70-percent return of investment. Authorities however said the group does not have a permit to operate as an investment company.
Brig. Gen. Gilberto Cruz, police director for Caraga, presented dela Cruz and some P23,054,070 in cash that were kept in five storage plastic boxes.
Col. Ramir Perlito Perlas, police director for Agusan del Norte, said it was the CIDG that learned about a scheduled payout in Agusan del Sur.
“Unfortunately, nobody came… we believe that they were about to run and leave their so-called investors,” Perlas said.
Perlas said a vehicular accident along the highway in Buenavista town, Agusan del Norte, resulted in the confiscation of the money, believed to have been the “investments.”
Lt. Col. Choli Caduyac said the vehicle that figured in the accident, a Ford Raptor pickup truck driven by dela Cruz, was used by the group behind the investment scheme.
The vehicle was traced to Romulo Elondo Pal of Purok 2, Barangay Ambago in Butuan City.
Police said it was dela Cruz who provided the police information about the group’s safehouse, resulting in the raid.
A police spokesman claimed that a search warrant issued earlier covered the raid.
Police said at least 20 people have submitted affidavits against those behind the investment scheme as of yesterday afternoon.