By NITZ ARANCON
THE City Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday elevated the case for large-scale estafa against online Ponzi scheme suspect Antonette Pacana Sestoso.
This came even as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) pressed the same charges against four others identified as Rhea Mae Vallejos, Wenchelmie Acosta, Donnie Pagaspas and his father Pablito. All were accused of ripping people off with the similar Ponzi scheme.
The other day, the prosecutor’s office found probable cause to charge the 23-year-old Sestoso before a court in connection with an investment scheme that lured people through the social network Facebook.
Sestoso handed herself over to the NBI on Friday and sought refuge in the Bureau’s regional office after over a hundred angry people surrounded the house of her family in Kauswagan to demand the return of their money and the promised returns.
NBI agent Gerardo Tamayo said the Bureau also pressed charges against two of Sestoso’s alleged cohorts, the Pagaspases.
The father and son were identified as Sestoso’s accomplices by alleged Ponzi scheme victims, Tamayo said.
Sestoso also identified and even blamed the two Pagaspases for botching up her “online business,” alleging that the father and son did not pay investors who were recruits in her “downline.”
Sestoso said she received from the Pagaspases P1.7 million in collection this March 3.
“Pero ilang gikuha pagbalik ang kapin sa P500 thousand ug wala nako makabalo giunsa to nila, ug kadtong nabilin sa ako nga almost P1 million, akong gipangbayad sa akong mga investors,” said Sestoso.
Meanwhile, Tamayo said Sestoso operated separately from Vallejos and Acosta although their schemes were similar.
“La-in la-in na sila, pero pareho ra ang ilang scheme online,” he said.
Tamayo said the NBI was waiting for prosecutors to complete their evaluation of the charges against Vallejos, Acosta and the Pagaspases.
“Hopefully, sa sayong panahon mogawas ang resolution for commitment sa mga suspect,” he said.
According to Tamayo, Vallejos and Acosta surrendered to the NBI like Sestoso after over a hundred people complained against the suspects.
Complaints against Vallejos and Acosta were also made with the police in Divisoria, Carmen and Agora. The complainants alleged that the two women failed to pay up.
Vallejos and Acosta were placed under detention with Sestoso at the NBI regional office.