TWO more alleged scammers surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation-Northern Mindanao after receiving death threats from the investors they failed to pay in their online investment scheme.
Wenchelmie Acosta, 25, surrendered to Agora Police Station on Tuesday, March 12, while Rhea Vallejos, 20, surrendered to the NBI office Wednesday morning.
NBI regional director Patricio Bernales said that like Antonette Sestoso who also surrendered last week, both will face large scale estafa charges for recruiting people to invest.
He said although all three operate the same kind of scheme, investigators did not find any connection between them, which means the three may have operated independently.
All of them used Facebook as a platform lure people to invest by posting an offer where one should give P1,000, and then it can turn to either P1,500, P1,700, or P2,000 in just a span of 10 days.
Of the three suspects, Vallejos siphoned most of the money from investors.
Investigators could not specifically tell the specific figures, but according to Vallejos, she has paid more than P20 million to investors.
“Dili siya scam, nag pull-out lang ang uban investors so na alanganin pud mi (It's not a scam, the people had to pull out from us so we were put in this position). Sa akong estimate, P12 million ang na-invest sa ako pero ang ako sad nabayaran lapas na sa P20 million (In my estimate, P12 million were invested to me but I also paid them more than P20 million),” she said.
Since Sestoso's surrender, police stations in Cagayan de Oro are flooded with complaints from people who invested in the alleged investment scam orchestrated by the three “handlers.”
In an interview, Vallejos admitted that she alone has over 300 investors.
Acosta, meanwhile, said she is not sure whether this was a scam or not.
Both claimed they have financiers for their operations. They also promised to refund their investors.
A student, who requested anonymity, from one of the universities in Cagayan de Oro said she has invested a total of P300,000.
She said the transaction was good in the first few months since she was recruited, but it turned sour when news of the alleged online investment scam proliferated, followed by the surrender of Sestoso.
“Didto nagsugod nga wala nami nabayaran, kay diay ang among gi-invest, gipangbayad na sa uban nga wala nabayaran (They took our money to pay it to other investors). Niapil lagi ko kay basin diay maka-kwarta (I believed because I wanted to earn more money),” she said.
Meanwhile, Bernales believed that someone is behind these scams.
“Pangitaon lagi namo kung naa ba gyud ulo ani asa gikan (We will find the source of this scam),” he said.