Victims of rental scam seek HPG Calabarzon’s help to recover cars

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna — Close to 100 car owners from Region 3 (Central Luzon) on Monday trooped to the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) of the Police Regional Office (PRO) Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) here to recover their cars believed to have been used in an investment scam.

In a media interview, Police Superintendent Joel Jucutan, PRO deputy regional director, said close to a hundred car owners from Region 3, mostly from Bulacan and Nueva Ecija provinces, came to the HPG office here to identify and recover their respective cars.

According to the victim-claimants, the vehicles were rented out by the suspects identified as Rafaela Anunciasion and sister Anastacia Montes and another operator identified as Eleanor “Ela” Rosales.

Supt. Jucutan described the modus operandi as like a “binary” investment scheme wherein the “right leg” agents look for cars to be rented at Php 25,000 for a Sedan; Php 35,000 for a medium-size car and Php 45,000 for Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) of 2016 and 2017 models.

He said under the modus, the agents look for investors using their car as collateral.

For instance, for a Php 200,000 investment with a sedan as collateral, the monthly income is Php 10,000; Php 300,000 for a medium-size car and Php 15,000 income; and Php 400,000 for an SUV with the corresponding Php 20,000 monthly income.

Jucutan said the car owners started complaining when they stopped receiving their monthly rentals and learned their vehicles had been to Tawi-tawi, Marawi City, or Surigao – all in Mindanao and Marinduque and Camp Vicente Lim in Southern Luzon through the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) tracking device installed in their cars.

The HPG official reported close to 200 cars are impounded at the headquarters out of the 1,400 cars under investigation by “Task Force Limbas” of the HPG’s special operations division.

The victims requested anonymity during the interview for fear that a syndicate has been behind all the troubles while saying “they just want to make money out of rental payments more than the bank’s monthly amortization for their car loans.”

Some of the victim-claimants are now staying at nearby hotels while some are staying in their cars until they can recover their respective cars that are now under investigation and processing with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and respective banks.

Jucutan said that since last February 11, the investors who are now using the “questioned” cars have been coming to the HPG office for identification and verification.

He said the office is preparing the appropriate charges against the suspects while pursuit operations have been ongoing leading to the arrest of the scammers. Robert Maico/

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