Firms rise to 49; estafa raps up to 104


BAGUIO CITY  – The Anti-Investment Task Force admitted amidst the unrelenting and uncompromising campaign of government to lead the people away from losing their hard-earned money through false investments, suspected ponzi firms continue to proliferate as the 43 earlier pinpointed to be involved in fraudulent investment schemes have increased to 49 in just a few weeks.

However, task force officials consider their anti-ponzi scheme campaign as successful because numerous individuals who were duped by the ponzi operators are now coming out in the open to file charges against those who divested their money since from last month’s 79 multiple and syndicated estafa filed against three notorious firms, it rose to 104 at the close of this week.

The multi-agency task force also disclosed the amount duped by the operators from their complaining investors grew from PP25.15 million over the past weeks to P30.52 million this week with more to come in the coming weeks.

From 50 complainants who earlier filed syndicated estafa charges against Stiforp Trading along Magsaysay Avenue that closed operations recently, the number of complainants grew to 59 with the additional 9 complainants executing their affidavit against Stiforp manager Eliel Morales and his staff Juanito S. Alcalde, Jr., Gani Bernabe, Joy Pavon Segundo, Louanie Buen Camino and Ricky Jones Lorenozo.

Stiforp Trading, which promised its investors around 30 percent monthly interest for their investments reportedly, divested from the complainants a total of P24.99 million in hard earned money.

Furthermore, from only five complainants over the past weeks, the number of individuals who were reportedly duped by the investment firm rose to 21 and subsequently filed syndicated estafa charges against the owners and employees of the AZULA investment firm after the company was able to divest from them a total of PP2.92 million.

The charged AZULA officials and employees were Lara Mapanao Pineda, Anna Liza Gaspar Amistad, Lie Salazar, Norhidaya Mao, Michael Joe Garcia, Gervin Estel and Ervin Jude Cid.

The multiple estafa complaints against Herminia Sukil-ap of Three Angels Trading remained at 24 which were mostly from the towns of Mankayan and Buguias.

Task force officials disclosed the complainants were forced to file the charges against the company official after the company suddenly closed its operations without being informed of the real reason behind its closure carting away with her the hard-earned money of its investors amounting to P2.062 million.

The task force called on the complainants not to just believe on the sugar-coated words of the owners of the companies where they invested their money that they will be paid because they are simply preparing their decent way out and eventually disappear carting with them the money of the innocent investors.

The task force appealed to complainants against Ponzi firm operators to have their respective affidavits subscribed and sworn to before any notary public in order to complete the documentation that will be filed before the city prosecutor’s office.

For those who earlier complained before the different investigating agencies, probers are reminding them to visit their offices in order to update their affidavit complaints and have them notarized or subscribed and sworn to complete the legal filing procedures to avoid the case from being dismissed because of technicality.

Of the 49 identified ponzi firms, the task force revealed that 11 companies who continue to dupe innocent individuals are still operating in Baguio, Benguet, Mountain Province and Ifugao while the rest either changed their company names and transferred to other places or suddenly closed operations because of bankruptcy.

By Dexter A. See