MANILA – Through the years, billions of savings that could have gone to creation of new businesses, education, retirement, homes, and even social causes have been siphoned away by financial scams.
Financial adviser Salve Duplito said that strictly speaking, financial crimes do not kill people—they kill dreams and confidence in long-term saving and investing.
Duplito said the 10 biggest scams of all time in the Philippines are the following:
10) Bancap scam
A Treasury bill scam ran by Marilyn Nite
Known losses: P900 million
9) FrankSwiss and DeutchFranks
These were high-yielding investment products marketed through the Internet from March to July 2007 that offered as much as 4.5 percent returns per day.
“Some of the victims included politicians and celebrities. It folded after a media report called investors to withdraw their money and the pyramid collapsed,” Duplito told ANC’s “On The Money.”
The National Bureau of Investigation filed estafa charges against Eleazar Castillo, chief financial adviser of FrancSwiss.
Known losses: P1 billion
8) Swiss Mutual Fund International Scam
An international online scheme that ran for more than a decade before it hit the Philippines, offering high guaranteed returns.
Known losses: Unknown
7) Royal Manchester Five Trading Corp.
A currency trading program that promised a 4 percent per month guaranteed return to investors in 2008.
Known losses: P2 billion
6) Tibayan Group Investment Corp.
A mutual fund scheme that guaranteed 3 to 5 percent a month for a six-month to 1 year lock-in period.
Known losses: P2 billion
5) Mateo Management Group
“In 2003, couple Ervin and Evelyn Mateo enticed at least 20 people to invest billions of pesos by promising high guaranteed returns. They disappeared after getting the investment,” said Duplito.
Government filed 30 counts of estafa against the Mateos and other officers.
Known losses: P4.3 billion
4) Performance Investment Products Corp.
In 2007, an alleged forex trading outfit duped people who were blinded by the 10-15 percent guaranteed return being offered.
“This was a scam that victimized mostly rich people, some got in thinking too many important and smart people can’t be wrong. Evidently, they were,” said Duplito.
Known losses: P11 billion
3) Aman Futures Group
In 2012, over 100,000 families in Pagadian City were enticed in commodities trading investments that offered up to 80 percent profit in 20 days.
A manhunt is still ongoing for founder Aman Amalilio.
Known losses: P12 billion
2) Multinational Telecom Investors Corp.
In 2002, more than 950,000 individuals got burned in this investment scheme that offered 4 percent to 5 percent a month.
Known losses: P25 billion
1) Legacy Group
In 2008, Celso de los Angeles’ group of companies offered motorcycle loan and investment loan programs with guaranteed commission of up to P15,000.
Angeles was put in jail and died of cancer in 2012.
Known losses: P30 billion
“All these scams depended on fresh victims, charismatic leaders, greed among investors, and misplaced trust,” Duplito said.
Duplito warned that several companies allegedly involved in cash scams, namely Emgoldex, its Philippine counterpart Goldxtreme, and One Lightning Corp., are still operating.