3 steal P37M in rice investment, more Bacolod victims surface

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BY SHIELA G. GELERA

The three suspects in the rice investment scam in Bacolod City have carted away about P37 million in monetary investments from 24 complainants alone, Atty. Renoir Baldovino, National Bureau of Investigation-Bacolod head, said yesterday.

The 24 complainants, who sought the help of NBI-Bacolod, already executed sworn statements yesterday, that are needed, with the evidences in the filing of estafa charges against the three Bacoleña suspects, Baldovino said.

He said the charges may be filed today since some complainants still have incomplete documents.

Baldovino said he believes that the suspects are still in Bacolod.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Bacolod is waiting for the three complainants, also on the rice investment scam, to return to their office so they can assist them in the filing of cases, P/Senior Master Sgt. Ramiro Gocotano of the CIDG-Bacolod said yesterday.

Gocotano said the three complainants were asked to have their complaints recorded first at the police station that has jurisdiction over the place where the incident happened.

Fifteen individuals have also reported to Bacolod Police Station 2 that they were likewise victimized by a Bacoleña, who encouraged them to invest their money on a rice venture, with a promise of a percentage payout.

Baldovino said the modus operandi of the suspects was to post on Facebook the rice investment offer, stating that investors will earn up to 300 percent of the money they had invested, depending on the duration of their investment.

He said it is similar to pyramiding because the suspects gave the investors the authority to recruit more people to invest.

NBI-Bacolod also found out that the suspects are not authorized by the Securities and Exchange Commission to solicit investment money from the public and they have no business permit.

Some of the complainants received the first few payouts, but this is being used by the suspects to make the victims believe that the investment works and for them to recruit more people, Baldovino also said.*

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