7 charged as investors lose P12M in new scam

·2 min read

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed a case of syndicated estafa before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office against seven individuals who allegedly obtained at least P12 million in cash through an investment scam.

Those charged were Princess Joana Jo Alfajic Campos, Gretchen Baron Aguas, Gregory Mohamad Alfajid Campos, Lennita Sumalinog, Gilde Pineda Saron-Maghibon, Christopher “Ace” Tundag and Andrew P. Arnado.

Those with the surnames Campos, Aguas and Maghibon indicated addresses in Bacolod City while the rest are from Cebu City.

NBI Agent Greg Algoso Jr., who is in charge of the case, said up to 30 individuals have filed complaints before their office.

Based on the complaint filed on Sept. 3, 2021, Princess Joana first convinced several people in Cebu to invest in their company and promised the investors that they would earn three percent per day for 67 days, excluding Saturdays and Sundays.

Investors who would put in P500,000 would reportedly earn 60 percent per month for six months.

Princess Joana claimed the investments would go to Royal O Consultancy Services, Royal O Import and Export, Royal O Dry Goods Trading, Plasmatech Medical Supplies Trading, Deverde Plural Import Manufacturer Co. and Oro Magnet International E-Games.

She launched these companies, together with iPhil Savings and Credit Cooperative through Arnado, in a five-star hotel in Cebu City on May 28, 2021.

Princess Joana and iPhil also established Royal O-iPhil in an office on the ground floor of APM Central along A. Soriano Ave., Mabolo, Cebu City.

This company told investors who put in P500,000 that they will earn three percent per day for 67 days. Those who invest more than P500,000 were told they would earn 30 percent per month for 12 months.

IPhil also promised that it would return the original investment after 12 months. Instead of issuing checks, iPhil released passbooks.

However, on June 14, 2021, Royal O and iPhil closed their offices. The contact numbers that they provided their investors could no longer be reached.

“Based on the complaints and the amount stated by the complainants, the total amount carted (away) by the perpetrators is in millions of pesos,” NBI said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an advisory on Feb. 23, 2021, stating that the Royal O group of companies “has not secured a secondary license or permit to offer and sell securities and is not authorized to solicit, accept, or take investments or placements from the public nor issue investment contracts and other forms of securities.” (ANV, REV)

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