Bureau of Immigration operatives arrested an overstaying American citizen tagged as leader of a notorious pyramiding scam syndicate reportedly victimizing residents of Davao City and other areas in Mindanao.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente identified the American as Edward Booyer III, who was nabbed in his residence at the posh Fairlanes Subdivision in Damosa District, Davao City.
Booyer’s arrest was made at the request of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio whose office has received numerous complaints from victims of the syndicate that defrauded them of large sums of money.
“We also received a report from the anti-scam unit under Mayor Duterte’s office regarding the results of its investigation into the nefarious activities of this American and his cohorts in the syndicate,” the BI chief said.
He said the Davao City government was expected to file criminal complaints against members of said syndicate after it had gathered more evidence and built up its cases against the suspects.
“Booyer will be detained at the BI pending the filing of criminal cases against him in court and will be deported after he is convicted and has served his sentence,” Morente said.
Booyer and his accomplices have formed several non-government organizations which they have used as fronts in their swindling activities.
One of the victims said that she and several other people were each asked to pay a P300 membership fee to one of the NGOs so they could purportedly avail of P50,000 worth of groceries after two months.
They said other victims were duped to pay P650 each to the group after being promised with P50,000 worth of groceries, P35,000 cash, and a motorcycle.
Another report also revealed that Booyer and his gang also deceived several members of the Lumad tribe in Davao who were promised during a meeting that their lands would be explored for mineral deposits if they paid professional fees to the scammers.
Duterte Carpio has warned her constituents against the activities of the syndicate allegedly headed by Booyer who has been overstaying in the country for more than two years, as he failed to extend his stay since he arrived last August 2016.
Meanwhile, Morente urged local government units to report to the BI suspected illegal aliens in their area.
“This incident shows the importance of the partnership between the BI and LGUs. Protecting our country from illegal aliens is a shared responsibility,” he said. “We are thankful to Mayor Duterte [Carpio] for helping us with this case, and urge others to follow suit,” he added.