THE BSP AND THE SECÂ have warned people to guard their hard-earned money against investment and pyramiding scams. Go for financial literacy, they say, and do not get into something you do not understand.
The cardinal rule has been : If it is too good to be true, then it is probably not true.
Mainstream media consciousness and the vast influence of social media have been tools that often siot masquerading scams into public view-showing the Emperor wears no clothes.
In the past, these economic crimes prospered for years before detection and already victimized many people. Let us recall some of them.
The Aman FuturesÂ (Malaysia-based) victimized both the rich and not so rich-about 100,000. Manuel Amalilio , the mastermind,was arrested in Malaysia in 2013 but strangely escaped deportation and instead suffered just a two year prison term in Kuala Lumpur. By next year, he shall be freed and sneer at the country which failed to mete justice.
Remember the Legacy GroupÂ engineered by the late Celso de los Angeles in 2007 which led to the collapse of 12 rural banks and 3 pre-need firms? He had creative double your money schemes and issued fictitious loans- Â proceeds of which were put his own account in other banks.
The wily banker siphoned away P 437-M of funds and due to the collapse of his banks, the PDIC used the taxpayers money Â to pay the insured depositors Â for P 11-Billion of his collapsed banks.
Meanwhile. the Â Multitel GroupÂ was managed by Rose and Lilia Baladjay offered 4% monthly interest and then scaled up to double your money in 18 months as the cash flow diminished. Politicians, cabinet secretaries and the Â elite were part of the over 2 million people who lost their shirts in the total magnitude of P 100-Billion.
Also huge was that of Singaporean Michael Liew– Â who disappeared after bilking clients on foreign currency transactions in the vicinity of US$250-M (about P 10-Billion) Â by offering 4.5% interest on ineestment in a Ponzi type pyramiding scheme.
Today, the scams are starting small and are Â scattered in the provinces which should let Boholanos beware as well.
The SEC , DTI and the DSAP (Direct Sellers Association of the Philippines) had separately issued “caveats” to avoid these criminal agents.
The (caveats include: (a) there must be a product sold (b) the main bulk of the income of the participant does not depend on the recruitment of agents but Â on .
the products sold (4)the product must have real market value (5) must have Â reasonable product return policy Â (6) participant can still earn income even if recruitment stops and (7) bulk of the earnings is based on sales rather than position in the pyramid structure.
The SEC further warned that while some of these dubious firms are registered with them, they usually do not have the secondary license to sell “investments”. promising high returns.
Among the recently -listed companies who are either operating without investment licenses , are Ponzi type of pyramiding and with recruitment as primary basis of income are the following:
One Dream Global Marketing, FLAG Prosperity Marketing Inc, Â Success International Marketing Â Corp, Â Goldestres Trading Company, Â Bagong Lahing Â Filipino Development Corporation, Â Hyper Program Intl Direct Sales and Trading Corporation, Â J79 Galore Online Â Marketing, Satarah Wellness Company.
When in doubt, call the SEC or DTI Â for legitimacy or the firstname.lastname@example.org (Direct Selling Association of the Philippines) if accredited as such.
Caveat Emptor or Buyer, Beware is always a good advice these days. Let us fight the scammers, the economic saboteurs.