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7 charged over investment scam in Manila

MANILA, Philippines - The Justice department on Wednesday filed criminal charges against seven officials of an investment firm for running off with the money of some of its investors in 2006. Charged with syndicated estafa before the Manila regional trial court were were Jesus V. Tibayan, Palmy B. Tibayan, Ezekiel D. Martinez, Liborio E. Elacio, Jimmy C. Catigan, Nelda B. Baran, and Rico Z. Puerto, all from the Tibayan Group Investment Co. Inc. (TGICI) and its subsidiary, the Matcor Holdings State Prosecutor Amor L. Robles recommended no bail for the provisional liberty of the accused. The seven were charged after the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) task force on business scam found probable cause that warranted the filing of the case. The investigation was based on a complaint filed by 16 people who claimed to have been swindled by the firm of their investment ranging from P50,000 to P1 million. According to the complainants, the accused enticed them in 2006 to invest huge amount of money as capital in the TGICI with an assurance that it would gain a three to eight percent interest every month. The victims further said the accused issued postdated checks as payment instrument of the capital investment and the supposed interest earnings, which can be encashed upon maturity. The checks, however, were dishonored when presented for payment on their maturity dates. The banks said the checks were drawn closed accounts. NBI report further revealed that shortly after several investors were enticed to invest in the firm, the TGICI gradually ceased its operation and eventually closed its office. In her resolution, Robles said the law provides that any person who shall commit estafa or other forms of swindling as defined in Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code shall be punished by life imprisonment to death if the swindling is committed by a syndicate consisting of five or more persons. - GMANews.TV