LGUs to be on lookout for invest scams

The Interior department is set to order barangay officials to monitor and report investment schemes in their areas to prevent the public from being duped into investing their hard-earned money in fraudulent investment schemes.

“The moment they receive information that somebody is organizing or recruiting people that involves money, barangay officials should report it to the higher authorities so that we can check if their operation is legal,” Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said in a radio interview on Friday.

He said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año will order barangay officials to be more vigilant against various groups involved in investment schemes that offer unusually high-interest rates, which are similar to what Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc. founder and pastor Joel Apolinario had promised his followers.

READ: ‘Kapa in large-scale estafa’

He reminded local government officials to ensure that the owners of investment companies had authorization from appropriate state agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Trade and Industry before granting them a permit to operate.

“If they have permits to operate, they have to be investigated and if proven they are receiving money and are not operating in accordance with their SEC or DTI registration, their operations should be stopped immediately or their licenses would be suspended,” Densing said.

He said the operation of Kapa, which had been engaged in the investment sector for 20 years, was illegal and considered an investment scam.

READ: SEC: P50 billion flowed into Kapa

“I have never heard of a return-on-investment of 20 or 30 percent per month [like what Kapa promised]. That’s clearly a scam,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde has also ordered his people, especially those assigned in Mindanao, not to engage in investment fraud.

“On the part of the PNP, we are continuously talking to our personnel to stay away from these kinds of modus either as investors or a recruiter for investors,” Albayalde said during the discussion on discouraging policemen on identifying pyramiding schemes.

Albayalde said the PNP had issued a memorandum warning all its personnel on such schemes.

The Central Mindanao regional police leadership last month issued warnings and tips on how to avoid investment frauds after some of its personnel fell prey to pyramiding and other financial scams.

In a statement, the Central Mindanao regional police admitted that some of its personnel had lost millions to Pulis Paluwagan.

At least three middle-ranking police officers were sacked in March this year for their alleged involvement in investment schemes targeting policemen as investors.

Albayalde said three police officials, including their alleged cohorts, had already been charged before the Office of the Ombudsman.

He said the police officials had even used their respective offices for investment scam transactions and facilitated fast lanes for policemen-investors.

Albayalde said educating the public was a “must” to strengthen their campaign against companies involved in pyramid schemes. 

He said companies and corporations were allegedly luring unsuspecting victims to invest money with a promised return of 15- to 400-percent interest within a month.

“No matter who you ask, may it be the SEC, DTI [Department of Trade and Industry] or any businessman, earning 15 to 400 percent interest monthly from your invested money is impossible,” Albayalde said. 

Topics: Epimaco Densing III , Department of Interior and Local Government , Eduardo Año , Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc. , Joel Apolinario
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