MANILA - The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday raided a company for allegedly operating an online investment scam targeting Malaysian and European investors.
Armed with a search warrant, operatives of the ACG and SEC raided the two offices of ROSES4U Inc. in Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay City and in Molino, Bacoor, Cavite.
Twenty-five employees were found operating the call-center-like office in Pasay City.
ACG spokesperson Senior Insp. Artemio Cinco said the Malaysian embassy gave them the information after Malaysian investors filed a complaint.
Cinco said the company also targeted European retirees to invest online.
“May names sila ng target nila na pino-provide sa kanila ng company. Mga retiree o matatandang pensioner ang target nila. Binebentahan nila ng stocks, ini-entice nilang mag-deposit ng pera at mag-open ng account sa kanila para mag-earn ang pera nila,” Cinco said.
(They have a list of names of the targets provided by the company. They target retirees or pensioners. They sell stocks, they entice them to deposit money and open an account with them to make their money grow.)
ACG said the company allegedly enticed investors to put more money by showing them a fake account and making them believe that the money they invested grew.
“Gagawa sila ng paraan para mag-deposit nang mag-deposit hanggang sa mabibigla ka na lang, wala na, hindi mo na ma-withdraw ang pera mo,” Cinco said.
(They find a way for their targets to deposit money until they won't be able to withdraw their money anymore.)
SEC Assistant Director for Enforcement and Investor Protection Oliver Leonardo said this was a boiler operation where Filipino agents or telemarketers offered bitcoin cryptocurrency, stocks, securities and other products to foreign investors.
“What the company is doing is what you call a boiler room operation, meaning they're selling investments, securities that needs to be registered with the SEC and they don't have the corresponding license as a broker,” Leonardo said.
“The investments are in the form of commodities, securities 'yon eh like gold, may mga agricultural commodities, etc. May sinasabi rin silang bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, stocks and indices.
Kaya tinawag na boiler room operation kasi characterized ito by high-pressure selling or offerings,” he added.
(The investments are in the form of commodities, securities like gold, agricultural commodities, etc. They also have bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, stocks and indices. It's called boiler room operation because it's characterized by high-pressure selling or offerings.)
SEC said what was peculiar in this operation was that there were no Filipino victims. They were engaged in unsolicited phone calls to foreigners which they got from a listing.
The operators and employees will be charged with violation of the Securities Regulation Code in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.