Victim cops tell NBI their boss recruited them in scam
MANILA, Philippines — At least 11 people, including policemen, went to the National Bureau of Investigation on Monday, claiming they all fell victim to the “Francswiss” investment scheme, one of the pyramiding scams proliferating on the Internet.
Ruel Lasala, chief of the NBI National Capital Region, said the complainants were reluctant to lodge a complaint against the incorporators and officials of Francswiss for fear that they too would become suspects.
“There were several others who were calling us up, saying they feared that they too would be arrested. Because even if they were victimized, they too recruited other people to join the pyramiding scheme,” Lasala said.
The policemen, reportedly members of the Manila Police District, refused to be identified because they were recruited by their superior.
“They don’t know now what to do because it was their boss who enticed them to join,” Lasala said.
Another complainant, a female employee, claimed that about 20 of them in her company also fell victim to the scam.
She said she was able to recover the first P47,500 she invested.
“It was good at first. I was really earning money. But then I invested another P95,000 for the two more accounts I got which I put under the name of my child and a friend,” she said.
Greed, she said, drove her to invest in Francswiss.
“Before I decided to join, I observed others who were already members and I was so amazed because they had lots of money,” she told reporters.
A pyramiding scheme involves paying abnormally high, short-term returns to investors out of the money raised from new investors, rather than from profits generated by any real business.
SEC names other groups
Prospective investors are asked to invest $1,000 in francswiss.biz and $10,000 in deutchfrancs.com that promise to double their money in 22 days.
“This group (Francswiss) promises interests bigger than those offered by banks,” said Lasala. “This type of investment scheme usually collapses as fast as they are created while investors are left unable to recover their investments.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission has identified other Internet-based pyramiding schemes — Swiss Cash, Universal Forex System, Global America and Private Forex Trade Inc.
These groups are not registered with the SEC and have no permit to solicit investments from the public, according to the commission.
Some of the complainants at the NBI refused to be named, saying they were embarrassed by what happened to them.
They said they were forced to borrow money from friends just so they could join Francswiss.
Another complainant from Baguio City told the NBI that he had invested P332,500 for the seven accounts he got.
There had been talk that famous celebrities and politicians also fell prey to operators of Francswiss.
Reynaldo Esmeralda, deputy director for Regional Operations Service, said his group is still in the process of verifying the information.
He said it was possible that those behind Francswiss were using the names of prominent people to entice prospective investors into joining the investment scheme.
On Wednesday, the NBI arrested Eleazard Castillo, 26, a native of Cabuyao, Ilocos Sur, and allegedly the chief financial adviser of Francswiss Investment (FS Investment), in an entrapment operation in Baguio City.
Castillo, who by himself allegedly defrauded investors of about P200 million to P300 million, was charged with syndicated estafa at the Department of Justice.
“Francswiss” was believed to have gypped unsuspecting investors in the Philippines of P1 billion, the NBI said.