GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/22 May) – Police authorities in Region 12 raised alarm on Wednesday over the continuing proliferation of various illegal investment schemes in the area that already lured and victimized thousands of residents.
Brig. Gen Eliseo Tam Rasco, regional director of the Police Regional office-12, said their monitoring showed that many residents, including ranking officials and members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), continue to fall prey to the mushrooming investment scams.
He said the fraudulent activities have thrived despite numerous warnings and public advisories from various government agencies.
“According to our estimates, billions of pesos have been lost to these fraudulent investment schemes. The numbers keep on rising as of this moment,” he said in a public advisory.
Rasco did not cite any specific investment scheme but it had issued warnings against entities like the Alamco/Almamico and Kapa Community Ministry.
Alamco/Almamico and Kapa solicit investments in the form of memberships and donations, offering monthly payouts of 35 and 30 percent, respectively.
These schemes had been flagged as illegal by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Several other investment schemes under different business names have emerged in the area these past months that reportedly offered interest payouts of as much as 400 percent per month.
Rasco said that while they have been actively trying to stop the illegal investment schemes and bring the scammers to justice, “there seems to be a lucrative market for them in our region.”
He said people were still lining up every day to “pay in” and reports of those being scammed also keep coming in.
The official said residents should learn from the defunct Pulis Paluwagan Movement (PPM), a nearly P2-billion investment scam that victimized thousands of residents and police personnel here.
PPM, which offered monthly interest payouts of 120 percent, reportedly operated for some time at the city police headquarters here before it collapsed after several months of operation last February.
Several ranking police officials and personnel under the PRO-12 had been relieved and charged with syndicated estafa in line with the scam.
Rasco said the PRO-12 will continue to conduct law enforcement actions and investigate the investment schemes but noted that they “can only do so much to protect you from being victimized.”
“Our best tool now to mitigate these fraudulent investment offers is getting information out to the public, yet again — to advise our people that they need to be very careful before making investments,” he said.
The police official advised residents who were victimized by any investment scheme to come forward and file the necessary complaint.
He said they may report them directly to the PRO-12, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the National Bureau of Investigation.
“Reporting these scams is important to begin the recovery process, to ensure that those responsible are investigated and to prevent from doing further damage to other people,” he added. (MindaNews)