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Police nab couple in multi-million peso ‘Bitcoin scam’ in Bulacan

Police operatives arrested a couple who allegedly defrauded several people of around P900 million in an investment scam through virtual currency Bitcoin.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa presented the couple identified as Arnel Ordonio, 27, and his wife Leonady Ordonio who are registered owners of "NewG Bitcoin Investment Trading," a company allegedly soliciting investments.

They were nabbed in an entrapment operation last April 4 at around 9:45 p.m. along Calle Crisologo, Vigan City in Ilocos Sur.

Dela Rosa said 56 people have already filed complaints against the couple at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, but they are expecting more victims to come forward.

The interest rate promised by the couple to their investors is 33 percent for every 16 days.

"Liliwanagin natin na Bitcoin is the presentation which is false...Hindi siya connected sa Bitcoin, meron siyang pine-present na company, NewG," CIDG chief Director Roel Obusan said.

The Ordonios are facing complaints of syndicated estafa.

In an earlier report on Unang Balita by GMA News' Bam Alegre, five of the couple's victims had initially sought the help of the local police in Malolos, Bulacan.

Marvin Maglunog, one of the investors, said the suspect convinced them to invest in Bitcoin with the promise that their investment might grow bigger.

Maglunog said he invested P90,000, which later grew by P25,000. He said he eventually convinced his friends and relatives to place money in Bitcoin too.

However, in December 2017, Ordonio went into hiding after his supposed victims accused him of fraud.

"Hindi po biro 'yung ganung halaga. Kami na rin po naiipit po dito sa sitwasyon kasi nga po 'yung mga sumabay sa amin sinasabi na nasan na 'yung pera. Eh, wala po talaga sa amin 'yung pera," Maglunog said.

The case of another victim, Prudencio Batangan, was a lot worse because he did not get anything after investing P90,000 — his hard-earned money after years of working overseas — in the scheme.

"Sana Arnel makonsensiya ka dahil ang mga perang 'yan ay pinaghirapan ng mga tao," Batangan said.

The Malolos Police, meanwhile, urged other victims of the alleged Bitcoin scam to come out and seek help from authorities.

"Nananawagan mo ako sa atin, sa kababayan natin sa Malolos kung meron pang biktima sa ganitong scam, eh dumulog lang po dito sa opisina namin," Bruno said. — Ted Cordero/MDM, GMA News