MANILA — The members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)  Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Unit (AFCCU) has filed estafa charges against the people involved global EmGoldex scam, PNP official said on Monday.

AFCCU Acting Chief Police Superintendent Bowenn Joey M. Masauding, said that they filed two separate cases last Thursday and Friday, (November 26 and 27 2015), before the Quezon City Prosecutors Office and Manila Prosecutors Office against the individual suspects involved in the global EmGoldex scam namely Mr. Kevin del Mundo Miranda, Mr. Ryan Manuit, Mr. Charles Juiz Padilla, Mr. Raahbel Ymas, Mr. John Rafael Calicdan, Mr. Jose Victorio Cajita, and Mr. Paul Alviar for violation of PD 1689 in relation to Art. 315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), also known as Syndicated Estafa.

A Syndicated Estafa, a non-bailable offense, is punishable, upon conviction, with Life Imprisonment.

EmGgoldex, an apparent Dubai-based firm that recruits investors to buy gold online with the promise of hefty bonuses for referring friends and acquaintances.

Based on the  Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation, EmGoldex has been inviting Facebook netizens to invest in its “Pinoy Style Patak-Patak” scheme which promises huge returns for their investment.

Under the scheme, an investor that will put up P1,000 (.30 dollars) is promised to earn profits from P5,000 (6.50 dollars) to P10,000 (2.99 dollars), while a placement of P35,000 (5.48 dollars) will yield P180,000 (,833.54 dollars) to P360,000 (,668.25 dollars).

According to Masaunding that most of the above named suspects were the incorporators of Prosperous Infinite Philippines Holdings, Corp. (PIPHC) which was registered with the SEC sometime on August 2015 to aid and assist Global InterGold (GIG) investors who were unable to obtain a return on their investment.

The GIG was the new entity created by the suspects after SEC issued advisories against Emgoldex. The SEC maintains that both EmGoldex and GIG are not SEC-registered corporations.

Initial investigation reports estimate that the Emgoldex investment scam has collected at least hundreds of millions of pesos mostly from young working Filipinos and OFWs. Mastermind Kevin Miranda was also reported to have travelled abroad extensively and has been driving around Manila in a multimillion Ferrari sportscar, among other luxurious vehicles. The investment scam is being done mostly online thru Facebook and other social media websites. Crimes committed in cyberspace and through the use of information and communication technologies are imposed the higher penalties as mandated by the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012.

The said complainants gave their accounts on November 2 to the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) on how they became victims of EMGOLDEX/GIG and PIPHC. Thereafter, both executed their statements accusing above suspects of duping and defrauding them of their hard-earned money by way of illegal offering of securities and online solicitation of investments.

As the investigation proceeds, more victims have come out and gone to the authorities to file cases against the masterminds.  The NBI is also expected to file more cases against this investment scam.

The filing of the syndicated estafa cases by the PNP, the issuance of a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) by the SEC last 5 November 2015, and the filing of the two (2) separate cases by the SEC last 6 November 2015 before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against the same respondents for violations of Section 8 and 28 of the Securities and Regulation Code (SRC) are products of the months of investigation by the DILG, PNP, NBI, and SEC.

Under Sec. 1 of PD 1689, the elements of Syndicated Estafa are: a) estafa or other forms of swindling defined in Art. 315 and 316 of the RPC is committed; b) the estafa or swindling is committed by a syndicate of five or more persons; and c) defraudation results in the misappropriaton of moneys contributed by stockholders, or members of rural banks, cooperatives, samahang nayons, or farmer associations or of funds solicited by corporations/associations from the general public.

With the close cooperation of DILG Secretary Mel Senen S. Sarmiento, PNP Chief Ricardo C. Marquez and SEC Chairperson Teresita Herbosa, EmGoldex conspirators are facing additional criminal charges and long-term imprisonment.

Masaunding said that after the filing of said criminal charges, SEC brought the case to the attention of Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for their appropriate action. Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan/PNA