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Police release over 400 Pinoys nabbed for alleged online stock trading scam

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Authorities have released over 400 Filipinos who were arrested in Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga for their alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar online stock trading, Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said Friday.

The 474 Filipinos were released "upon the recommendation of the inquest prosecutors of the Department of Justice to refer their case for further investigation."

The Filipinos were employees of International Brandings Development Marketing, Inc. (IBD), where the suspected "boiler room" is operating.

"The charge against them remains and they will be given a chance to file their counter affidavits," PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group director Chief Superintendent Marni Marcos Jr. said in a text message.

The Filipinos were released before midnight Thursday after they were brought to  Camp Crame, Quezon City for inquest proceedings, said Marcos.

The PNP-ACG on June 6 conducted simultaneous operations in three buildings of the IBD which resulted to the arrest of 482 individuals who were involved in a fraudulent online trading.

However, the eight Israelis who were caught in the act of managing, operating and manning the operations of their fraudulent online activity will remain detained with no bail recommended.

"Lahat ng mga Filipinos, 'yung mga employees were all released for further investigation. That is based on the findings of the five prosecutors from DOJ kagabi. Lahat ng Israeli nationals are all detained with no bail recommended," Albayalde said.

Marcos said the suspects are supposedly operating as a call center defrauding victims for around two and a half years.

"Their modus operandi is like a stock trading scam, meaning they invite investors through online. So again after that they will get details of your bank accounts, credit cards," Marcos said.

The Filipino suspects were caught while in the "act of communicating and doing online transactions with foreign 'clients' from Europe, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Russia."

The suspects were able to reap $1 million USD each day from their foreign victims.

They will face charges for violation of Sections 4 (a)(5) and 5(a) of the Republic Act No. 10175 or the "Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012” and charges in relation to Article 315 (Syndicated Estafa) of the Revised Penal Code. — RSJ, GMA News

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