Issue of April 26, 2015
     
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21 investment companies in CIDG list for Ponzi schemes
by Harley F. Palangchao

A law enforcement-led task force was created to investigate and file charges against people involved in Ponzi schemes in the Cordillera, especially in Baguio.

The Cordillera Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council (RLECC) created the task force during its quarterly meeting at the Baguio City Police Office on Wednesday.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group North and Central Luzon will be the lead agency of the task force, which is also composed by the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency and National Bureau of Investigation.

Some 21 companies were initially listed to be involved in Ponzi schemes in various parts of the Cordillera.

A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors.

The Baguio extension office of the Securities and Exchange Commission was earlier reported to have stated that 12 companies are not registered with the Commission but were monitored to be soliciting investments with a promise of huge interest rates.

The interest rates ranged from 10 up to 25 percent.

SEC Baguio office head, Atty. Annie Tesoro, reported that Emgoldex, one of the companies reportedly engaged in Ponzi schemes, closed its main office and has not reopened.

Tesoro said one of the companies that were reported to be soliciting investments without complete legal requirements vowed to comply with SEC policies.

Another company, United Wellness Hub, also reportedly ceased operations. It was not immediately confirmed if some investors filed charges against the owners of the company.

Ponzi scheme organizers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk.

In many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters focus on attracting new money to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors to create the false appearance that investors are profiting from a legitimate business, according to SEC.

A ranking CIDG officer said last week they would soon divulge companies involved in Ponzi schemes once appropriate charges were filed in court.

The Department of Trade and Industry also conducted verification and investigation on several companies reportedly engaged in Ponzi schemes.


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