MANILA - The Philippine National Police on Tuesday said the couple behind an alleged investment scam using the online currency bitcoin amassed at least P900 million from their victims.
In a press conference at Camp Crame, PNP chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said the couple who heads the company "NewG" may have gotten even more money as a lot of victims have yet to surface.
"Baka aakyat pa yan. So far 'yan pa lang ang nadidiskubre. Pero pag darating pa 'yung mga additional complainants baka aakyat pa 'yan," said Dela Rosa as the police presented suspects Arnel
and Leonady Ordonio.
Chief Supt. Roel Obusan, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said the P900 million figure is based on "raw capital" or the amount of money that the victims claimed to have invested in the company in question.
"Hihingi ng kapital [ang suspects] sa kanila. May upline, may downline, may promise ng return ng investments. In fact 16 days lang... 30 percent (interest). Kung may P1 million ka, in 16 days meron kang P300,000. Sa una, ibibigay niya muna. First at saka second. After that, mawawala na siya. This is a simple case of estafa and pyramiding," Obusan said.
Authorities previously noted that NewG was only registered as a computer shop and not as an investment company.
One of the victims, who together with her friends and relatives, invested a total of P29 million last November, took the podium at Crame sharing what went wrong with their deal with the couple.
"By the time nung December—kasi sila mahilig sila magpost sa Facebook—nag-announce na sila na nagka-problema at hindi na nga sila nakakapagbigay ng—term nga nila, 'sahod.' Ang promise nila January first week, maayos na daw 'yung issue," she said.
"We were able to talk to them via Facebook Messenger, February 28. He promised na P3 million every 5 days para maibalik ang kapital namin. Hindi niya natupad 'yun," the victim added, noting that it's very difficult to directly contact the couple.
CIDG's Obusan said they are still looking for the other key players in the scam called "uplines." He said these "uplines" are also investors but they also pool money from other people, which is considered a pyramiding scam.
"'Yung mga tinatawag nilang 'upline'... Ito 'yung [scheme]: 'Ako nag-invest ako. Tatawag ako ng ibang tao, kukunin ko rin ang investment nila, pangangakukan ko rin sila ng mas maliit na interes ipapasok ko rito dahil mas malaki 'yung interest,'" he explained.