ROXAS CITY, Capiz – The number of victims of an alleged “investment scam” has risen from 18 to 72 as more of them troop to the Roxas City police station to file complaints against the perpetrator.
One of the victims was incumbent village chief Rolando “Totong” Tuazon of Brgy. Lanot who was attracted to invest P200,000 upon the invitation of Lourdes Baarde.
Roxas City Mayor Angel Alan Celino denied that he also invested in Forex Investment Scheme (FIS) which Baarde allegedly founded.
Celino said he never entertained such kind of investment without solid assurance for returns.
Earlier reports indicated that each victim invested P100,000 to P200,000 in exchange for high returns. Given the number of victims so far, the money involved is estimated between P7.2 million and P14.4 million.
On the other hand, large-scale estafa is the possible charge that could be filed against the persons behind the alleged scam.
Noted criminal lawyer Nelson Borja from Capiz urged the victims to jointly file a case against FIS.
According to one of the investors who asked for anonymity, Baarde, 41, can no longer be reached after the issue came out.
The complainants told the police that FIS and Baarde, a former employee of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and resident of Rio Grande Subdivision in Arnaldo Boulevard, failed to return the money they invested.
The complainants, mostly local government employees, teachers, police officers and private individuals, invested at least P100,000 each.
The complainants said the 20 percent return on their investment tempted them to part with their money.
As an assurance of sorts, FIS issued post-dated checks reflecting the investors’ projected interest earning.
But the investors were alarmed after the checks bounced for lack of funds. The investors learned later on that the trading system was hacked and can no longer be restored.