Couple arrested for alleged bitcoin investment scam

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 06 2018 09:54 PM

MANILA - The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) has arrested a couple believed to be leaders of an investment scam using bitcoin to lure investors.

Arnel Ordonio, 27, and his wife Leonady Ordonio are the registered owners of NewG, a company allegedly soliciting investments from unsuspecting investors. 

Rotskie Bautista said he was enticed by his friend to invest money last October. 

“Mas malaki investment mas malaki pasok ng income kasi parang almost umaabot ng 100 percent a month ang kita,” Bautista said.

At first, Bautista said he was happy with the return on investment. Later on, he noticed the payment stopped coming in. 

“October to November good siya, kasi as in minsan advance pa. Walang delay, advance pa so buti nga nung time ng December, bago ma-delay ang sahod or mawala ang sahod nakapag-pullout pa kami kahit papaano,” Bautista said.. 

Atty. Maggie Abraham, legal counsel of the 20 victims, said 11 have filed a complaint at the Marikina City Prosecutor’s Office.

Among the respondents listed in the complaint are Arnel Ordonio, Leonady Ordonio, Angelo Ordonio, Jowell Ordonio Aujero and Gerald Manalang.

“Bitcoin is being used to get investment parang yun yung way of enticement through the investors. So, for 16 days, iba-iba ang
clients, iba-iba ang amounts eh. Yung parang P25,000 mo is magiging P50,000 in 16 days. Kumbaga ang laki nung returns mo parang half makukuha mo kaagad so in just 1 month may ROI ka na kaagad,” she said. 

Since investing in bitcoin is the new trend, many of the victims were excited to put in money. 

“Maganda ‘yung way of enticement tapos parang 1 year. Kasi June nag-start yung client ko. More or less 1 year, naka-comply itong Arnel tapos ipapadala mo yung pera through coins.ph. May tinatawag na coins wallet, so doon naka-attach sa complaint namin yung screenshot na pinadala kay Arnel doon sa wallet id nya sa coins.ph,” Abraham said.

Abraham said Ordonio acted deceitfully since his company was only registered as a computer shop and not as an investment company. 

“We only found out na computer shop ang nature ng business pero all the while he has been inviting investors through online na mag-invest sa company niya, 16-day investment,” she said.

“Makikita kung paano ginagamit yung bitcoin or online scamming sa isang crime. They used parang a wallet id sa isang online application which is coins.ph. The problem is, number 1, iyung company niya is not engaged in the business of accepting investments from the public,” she added.

Abraham said the investors did not know for sure if Ordonio invested their money on bitcoins. 

“Actually that is a question kung ininvest niya o hindi kasi wala namang proof,” she said. 

The suspect’s scheme was to employ upline and downlines in the so-called bitcoin investments, which covers the entire country. 

“Yung upline mo yung downlines niya isipin natin kung merong 20 downlines yung 50 o andami nun, ilan na kaagad yun. Hindi lang
taga-Luzon yan, may mga taga-Visayas at Mindanao. There was even one upline na meron siyang downlines sa Davao, so ibig sabihin buong Pilipinas iyan,” Abraham said.

“Yung iba, may mga upline na nagsend ng demand letters, merong mga P300 million kasi nag-ro-rollover sila ng investments. Sa roll-over parang hindi muna nila kinukuha investments nila as capital para mas malaki yung profit na nakuha nila so naging malaki yung capital,” Abraham added.

Bautista said he and his friends joined and pooled in money so their investment will grow faster. 
 
“Kasi ngayon meron pa rin nag-te-trading which is legit so pag iisipin kasi nagsulputan talaga yung mga mining and trading ng bitcoin, so kami naman dahil ayaw namin mag operate ng sarili namin, nag invest na lang kami sa nagte-trading. At the same time yung tropa namin na nagyaya sa amin,” Bautista said. 

Bautista’s group alone invested a total of P15 million. He believes they will no longer be able to get their money back.
 
“Sa palagay ko medyo malabo na kasi nandiyan na siya. Kahit nakakulong siya hindi natin alam kung saan niya kukunin ang pera kasi nakarating sa amin na tsinek ang mga accounts niya is zero na daw then yung mga properties niya is isa isa na binatak nung mga ibang investors, mga sasakyan niya, luxury cars wala na rin,” Bautista said.

“Mahapdi pa rin syempre kasi kahit naman isipin natin mahirap kitain ang ganung kalaking pera kaya that's why nandito kami if ever mahabol pa rin pera,” Bautista added.