PHILIPPINE National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Director Major General Eliseo DC Cruz on Saturday announced the filing of criminal charges for large-scale estafa against a group of women accused of operating a “Ponzi” scheme in Palawan which reportedly have defrauded several residents of millions of pesos.
Charged with two counts of estafa in relation to Presidential Decree 1869, which consolidated the various enabling laws of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) were Christy Beradas, Maristela Badayos, Myrna Paduga, Mary Gay Garcellano, Jeovanie Pasculado, Reynalin Sapitula, and other Jane Does.
The charges were filed before the Puerto Princesa City Prosecutor’s Office last Monday.
Maj. Gen. Cruz said that an investigation conducted by the local CIDG office showed that Beradas and Badayos pretended to be engaged in a rice business while their co-accused acted as legitimate clients or buyers to deceive their victims.
“The victims were enticed to invest in the said fake rice business with a promise of a guaranteed 15% monthly interest,” the official said.
Cruz said that thru the fraudulent scheme, the suspects were able to defraud the complainants of more than P1.5 million from May to December last year.
Another estafa case was also filed against Beradas for defrauding a retired teacher and a widower of some P768,000 in cash investments.
The PNP-CIDG director said that it turned out that Beradas enticed the victims to invest in her rice and dressed chicken product business with the assurance they will be getting a high-interest rate in just a short period.
However, the complainants and the CIDG discovered that the suspect has no business permit from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and that her supposed business is not existing.
Maj. Gen. Cruz reminded the public not to fall prey to these fake investment schemes.
He said that the citizenry must particularly be wary if they are approached by “glib-tongued” people offering them a high return of investment or income within a short period of time.
When in doubt, the public must immediately check with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the DTI the legality of the offered business, said the official.