14 Kapa officers slapped with estafa charges

The National Bureau of Investigation filed a complaint before the Justice department on Monday on behalf of three of the millions of investors of Kapa who claimed they were duped by its officers into investing their hard-earned money with guaranteed high returns.

The bureau asked the department to prosecute for syndicated estafa and violation of the Securities Regulation Code the 14 officials of Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc. who allegedly perpetrated the Ponzi scheme involving P50 billion in investments from its more than five million members.

The NBI withheld the identity of the complainants for security reasons but said the complainants included a mother and her son.

Charged were Kapa founder and president Joel Apolinario, its officers Nonita Urbano, Junnie Apolinario, Nelio Nino, Maria Pella Sevilla, Jouelyn del Castillo, Cristobal Barabad, Joji Jusay and other officers Reyna Apolinario, Modie Dagala, Benigno Tipa Jr., Marnilyn Maturan, Ricky Taer and Margie Danao.

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The NBI specifically charged the respondents with five counts of violation of Section 8 and 26 of the SRC and eight counts of syndicated estafa as defined and penalized in Presidential Decree 1689.

Section 8 of the SRC says “no person shall engaged in the business of buying or selling securities in the Philippines as a broker or dealer, or act as a salesman, or an associated person of any broker or dealer unless registered with the SEC.”

On the other hand, Section 26 of the SRC prohibits a Ponzi type of investment scheme and considers it a fraudulent transaction.

“The investment scheme of Kapa, being in the nature of securities is required under Section 8 of the SRC to be registered before being offered or sold to the general public. However, …Kapa is not a registered issuer of securities under Sections 8 and 12 of the SRC and therefore not licensed to issue or offer securities to the public,” the complaint says.

Based on the records of the SEC, Kapa has no license or permit to sell or offer for sale or distribution of securities within the Philippines as certified to by the SEC’s Markets and Securities Regulation Department, the Corporate Governance and Finance Department and the Company Registration and Monitoring Department.

The NBI noted that, based on the surveillance conducted by its poseur agents, the firm’s Taytay Office at Blk. 2 Lot 19, Greenville East, Taytay and in Quezon City revealed that the group continued to transact with the public despite the revocation of its certification of registration by the SEC.

“Publicly offering and selling said investment contracts without a license or approval from the SEC is not only illegal per se but would also operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person,” the complaint says.

With regard to the crime of syndicated estafa, the NBI said this was proven when an NBI team went to the Kapa offices to investigate and conduct a case build-up and then witnessed the pyramiding activities of Kapa.

The bureau recounted that the team composed of NBI agents even invested money in Kapa as poseur investors just to verify its illegal activities.

“To repeat, Kapa has employed deceit through false pretenses and fraudulent acts when it collected investment money from the public in the guise of donations with a promise of 30 percent perpetual monthly interests in the guise of blessings. Such transactions clearly fall in the realm of investment contracts,” the NBI said.

“This is an act of deception intended to defraud the public as well as the government. By failing to disburse the investors’ capital interest, its victims suffered damage equivalent to their respective investments.”

One of the complainants, a female senior citizen, told the NBI that she was duped of P500,000 that she invested in the group while her 38-year-old son invested P45,000. 

The third complainant invested P30,000 on June 3 and later discovered that the Kapa offices she transacted with were already closed. 

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Topics: National Bureau of Investigation , Department of Justice , Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc. , Joel Apolinario
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