Aman Group scam bags P900-M in South Cotabato–NBI

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 22 November) – Agents of pyramiding investment firm Aman Futures Group Philippines, Inc. allegedly collected nearly P900 million from at least 300 investors in nearby South Cotabato province.

Timmy Rejano, supervising agent of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Region 12, said Thursday they uncovered the multimillion investments following a search Wednesday afternoon at a house in Barangay Poblacion in T’boli town that supposedly served as the main base of the Aman Group in the area.

He said the house, which is owned by Pastor Rolando Lilio of the United Alliance Church, appeared to have operated as a branch of the Aman Group, with the pastor’s children Roda Lilio-Corpuz and Girlie Lilio-Paner acting as its agents.

“Based on the bank statements and other documents we recovered, the investment accounts handled by Roda and Girlie for the Aman Group reached P888 million,” the official told a local radio station.

Rejano said they conducted the search based on a warrant issued early Wednesday afternoon by Judge Roberto Ayco of the Regional Trial Court
Branch 26 in Surallah town in South Cotabato.

Acting on the orders of lawyer Angelito Magno, NBI-12 chief, Rejano said they applied for the search warrant based on the complaints filed at their office in Koronadal City last Monday by five victims of Aman Group’s Ponzi-type investment scheme in T’boli town.

The official said the search, which was witnessed by barangay officials and T’boli municipal police station personnel, yielded “stunning” evidences that detailed direct connections and transactions between the Lilio children and fugitive Aman Group founder Manuel Amalilio.

He said they specifically found various acknowledgement receipts, payment slips, bank deposit slips and transaction statements bearing the names of Roda Lilio-Corpuz, Girlie Lilio-Paner and the Aman Group.

The official said there were several summary cash transactions and deposit slips amounting to P200,000 that appeared to be collections from local investors, who were lured into the pyramiding investment scheme with promised returns of as high as 52 percent.

“There were bank statements and deposit slips showing huge amounts of money transfers and deposits to the personal accounts of Roda and Girlie. It shows that they personally gained from these transactions,” Rejano said.

They also found copies of speeches given by the Aman Group founder and correspondence detailing a supposed complaint filed by Corpuz and Paner against Aman executive Fernando Luna for the latter’s alleged failed investments in real estate using the company’s funds, he said.

During the search, Rejano said only the elder Lilio was present at the house and that Corpuz and Paner had previously left T’boli along with their families.

“We received information that Girlie [Paner] is now in Pagadian City while Roda [Corpuz] is still in General Santos City,” he said.

Rejano said they will immediately process the evidences against the two Aman Group agents for the filing of appropriate charges.

Aside from the initial five complainants, he said they were scheduled to meet with another group in T’boli town on Friday.

T’boli, which is rich in gold resources, hosts hundreds of small-scale mining operators.

“Based on our latest count, there are more than 300 people who were victimized by this group in T’boli alone,” Rejano said.

As for the elder Lilio, he said they were still evaluating his connection with the Aman Group “but he was possibly aware of its operations.”

“In fact, we found some of the documents in his room,” said Rejano, referring to the pastor.

Rejano reiterated that all charges in connection with the case will be filed at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila and not at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.

Several top officials of the Aman Group led by its fugitive founder Amalilio, who reportedly fled to Malaysia, are presently facing charges of syndicated estafa based on the initial complaints filed by some of their victims in Pagadian City.

DOJ Secretary Leila Delima ordered last week the creation of a special panel that will handle the complaints and the filing of charges against the leaders and agents of the company, which reportedly amassed around P12 billion in Ponzi-type investments from 15,000 people in several parts of Visayas and Mindanao. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)