Estafa charges filed vs HPI execs over P1-B investment scam
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine authorities have filed syndicated estafa charges against 15 executives of a trading corporation for allegedly duping their clients of over P1 billion through an investment scam.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said on Monday, March 7, that the following executives of Hyper Program International Direct Sales and Trading Corporation/HPI Direct Sales and Trading Corporation have been charged before the Quezon City Prosecutors' Office:
- Darlito dela Cruz, chairman
- Queen Ashley Ablan, president
- Aida-Lyn Gabriel
- Arleen dela Cruz
- Anthony Purganan
- Joseph Daryl Cabato
- Ernesto Lee Pinera
- Jeaun Christopher Tolsa
- Joycel Cruz
- Angelita Basbas
- Mary Jane Terrible
- Benadette Villapaz
- Mark Anthony Ballesteros
- Maytham Mutadha Akbar Abbas
- Mohammad Murtadha Akbar Abbas
They were also also charged with violation of Republic Act No. 8799 or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC) and violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 or the Bouncing Check Law.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by engineer Ashraf Mohamed Abdelrahman, an Egyptian national who is a permanent resident in the country, and married to a Filipina.
In his complaint filed with the NBI, Abdelrahman alleged that the respondents tricked him into investing P38.34 million in the company, an unlicensed investment corporation, with the promise of 30% monthly interest.
Abdelrahman said the HPI chairman issued post-dated checks to him payable until January 2016. He received monthly interest from June to September 2015, but by October, the concerned bank informed him that the HPI account had been closed.
Abdelrahman later discovered that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had issued a cease and desist order against HPI, for unauthorized solicitation of investments.
Ashraf said despite repeated demands, HPI failed to pay its obligation to him.
Several other HPI victims have directly filed their complaint before the QC Prosecutors' Office while some sought the assistance of the NBI-Anti Fraud and Action Division. (READ: Victims of investment scam fight back)
SEC had repeatedly warned the public against investment scams, saying that if an offer sounds too good to be true – promising hefty returns for little investment – it most likely is. – Rappler.com