Stock brokerage employee arrested for stealing PHP750M, forcing temporary shutdown

An employee of one of the oldest stock brokerage firms in the country was arrested yesterday by the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) of the Philippine National Police after it was discovered that he had allegedly stolen PHP750 million (US$4.950 million) worth of stocks since 2011.

Marlo Moron, 44, a settlement clerk at the 50-year-old R&L Investments, was arrested at 4pm from the firm’s Mandaluyong City office, the Philippine Star reports. The discovery of the alleged crime led the company to temporarily shut down.

According to ACG chief Lt. Col. Mary Ivy Salazar, Moron allegedly confessed to the crime, which the company only learned of when a broker called one of its employees to confirm a questionable request from R&L.

“There was this broker who called me on Tuesday night, [asking] ‘You were borrowing shares from me?'” the employee told ABS-CBN News. “That triggered me.”

The question raised the employee’s suspicions because none of the firm’s clients were selling any of their stocks at the time.

The phone call prompted the employee to call for an audit of R&L’s clients’ shares of stock, which in turn revealed irregularities.

“They looked at the records. They became alarmed that there were missing shares of stock,” Salazar said. “They found out that one of their employees was doing illegal transactions.”

R&L learned that Moron, one of their most trusted employees, had started by stealing PHP40,000 (US$792) worth of stocks eight years ago, and that the amount had grown exponentially over the years. Moron allegedly told police that he would transfer the stocks to another person who would sell them, kicking back to Moron a 3 percent commission.

Despite this, in a statement given to the ACG by Moron, he maintained that he committed the crime alone, but Salazar said police believe he was in cahoots with others, GMA News reports.  Moron admitted that he was addicted to gambling and that he blown most of what he stole.

The suspect has been charged with violating Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

In a statement released by R&L, the firm said they are communicating with clients who have been affected by the theft.

“At the same time, we are also in the midst of a comprehensive and rigorous investigation to determine how Mr. Moron was able to intentionally and deliberately deceive our company, its auditors, and other regulators for such an extended period of time,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Stock Exchange said that Moron’s crime will not negatively affect the organization. Board member Ali Yu said R&L promised that they will compensate the affected clients.

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