Baguio City

Police catch 26 people linked to investment scam in Baguio hotel

Joann Manabat

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Police catch 26 people linked to investment scam in Baguio hotel
Authorities allege that the suspects sold unregistered securities in the form of investment contracts, disguising them as opportunities

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Authorities arrested 26 people, including their leader, for their alleged involvement in a real estate investment scam during an operation in Baguio City on Saturday, June 10.

The group allegedly enticed investors with promises of profits derived from their investments or contributions. 

Investigators said the suspects offered and sold unregistered securities in the form of investment contracts, disguising them as opportunities for home acquisition, real estate ventures, or financial literacy programs.

During the operation, authorities seized P1,384,236 in registration fees and investments, among other pieces of evidence.

Authorities said the group included 43-year-old Jennylyn Delos Santos Floresca, allegedly the chief operations officer and chief executive officer Casa Infini Properties and Development Corporation.

Police said Floresca is also the COO and CEO of other companies identified as Casa Infini Builders and Realty, Casa Infini Realty Management, Ray Education Directions Consultancy Services, Ray International Philippines Corporation, Be Unrivaled Productions and Sine Cordillera.

Floresco and more than two dozen other suspects were arrested during a joint entrapment operation conducted by the Philippine National Police’s Regional Anti-Cybercrime Group Unit Cordillera (RACU-COR), Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Authorities alleged the suspects violated the Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The suspects were also arrested at the Orchard Hotel in Baguio City where a seminar on investment and real estate properties with a guaranteed income had been scheduled.

The arrests stemmed from a complaint received by the SEC in January that sought the revocation of the certificate of registration of Casa Infini Properties and Development Corporation due to alleged illegal activities.

The SEC issued a cease and desist order on June 8, directing CI Properties and Development to halt any further offering of securities. The order specifically applies to investment agreements related to real estate build and lease deals, financial literacy educational program partnership agreements, contract agreements, and any associated online presence.

The Commission also prohibited the firm from conducting financial transactions through its depositary banks and transferring, disposing, or conveying any of its assets and properties.

The SEC said Floresca and her company were operating without the necessary license to sell securities to the public. Working alongside CI Builders and Realty, Floresca allegedly sold 181 investment contracts, amounting to an estimated P167,187,888.

The contracts allegedly promised guaranteed returns on investment, ranging from 3.2% to 3.8%, with monthly amounts varying between P100,000 and P6 million. 

Those who referred new partners for participation in the real estate build and sell agreement were allegedly given referral fees of 1% to 2% each.

The suspects were taken by the police for documentation, while appropriate charges are being prepared for filing through inquest proceedings at the prosecution office in Baguio City as of posting time. – with reports from Sherwin De Vera / Rappler.com

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