The Philippines Biggest MLM, Networking, and Investment Scams in the Last Two Decades

If former President Benigno Aquino III had a DAF scam, and Janet Napoles had pork barrel scam, there are also other scams run by private people in the recent memory, and funnelled billions of pesos to owners’ pockets.

These scam run through an MLM (multi-level-marketing) program, a networking scheme, or just a plain investment program.

Let’s take a look at the biggest investment scams that rocked the Filipino people, especially the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the last 20 years.

The following lists are not in order

1. First Quadrant

Around 2003, First Quadrant, a legitimate company owned by Julie Rose Tactacan Defensor (wife of the former senator Arthur Defensor), was engaged into illegal investment scheme after it asked members to invest.

It was charged by the DTI with engaging in pyramiding schemes on January 25, 2005. DTI Undersecretary for Consumer Welfare, Adrian Cristobal Jr., said that after months of monitoring, the Anti-Pyramiding Task Force (APTF) found sufficient basis to formally charge the company and another Filipino firm, JC Martin Corp., of violating Article 53 of the Consumer Act. However, it has faced controversies and investigations and is now recognized as a legitimate multi-level marketing company.

2. FrancSwiss Investments

FrancSwiss is a high-yielding investment program that ran from March to July 2007. It was classified as an internet Ponzi scheme and promised investors 4.5% interest daily for their minimum investments of USD1,000., which could be encashed through Internet-to-bank transactions. When the scheme was busted during an entrapment operation by the National Bureau of Investigation, it was discovered that FrancSwiss has deceived investors of P1 billion. The masterminds behind the scam were charged by the agency of syndicated estafa. Among the victims were politicians, showbiz personalities, overseas Filipino workers, generals and retirees.

3. Emgoldex

Emgoldex Philippines scams Filipinos by promising huge profit for an investment of 1,000pesos only. The line of business of Emgoldex is buying and selling of investment gold bars of different value. Your gains will range from 5,000pesos – 10,000pesos. If you placed 35,000pesos you will yield 180,000pesos to 360,000pesos.

They even went to an outrageous sales tactic of no-recruitment-needed, no-selling-of-products, but with guaranteed 500% ROI. SEC then issued disclaimers stating Emgoldex Philippines is not a registered corporation or partnership in the Philippines. Thus, Emgoldex Philippines is not licensed or authorized to solicit investments from anyone.

As of today, Emgoldex continues to operate but with a different name, Global InterGold.

4. Goldxtreme

Patterned after Emgoldex, another investment company Goldxtreme practised almost the same type of operation only to find itself shut down by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after several months since it opened.

Goldxtreme is believed to be continuously operating despite many people lost a large amount of money.

5. Amman Futures

In 2012, Aman Futures Group duped over 15,000 investors across Visayas and Mindanao to invest in a pyramid scheme centred in commodities trading investments with 80% return in just 20 days. Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co and his wife were charged with syndicated estafa in November 2012 for alleged involvement in the investment scam. Manuel Amalilio, the founder of Aman Futures, was caught in Malaysia after pleading guilty, where he was also sentenced with two-year imprisonment.

6. One Dream Global Marketing Inc.

One Dream Global Marketing victimized thousands of people in Batangas, especially in Lipa City, where members lost more than 200 million pesos.

Under the scheme, an investment of P888 was supposed to get a payout of P1,300 in just 4 days. Due to its small capital (versus other investment plans) with a fast turnaround of returns, approximately 20,000 Filipinos decided to try their luck in this networking firm. But the investors became victims when their profits did not materialize. Their one dream turned out to be a P3 billion scam.

7. NBO (New Business Opportunity)

Another networking scam proliferated in the areas of Calamba City and Tanauan City and immediately spilt in nearby town and cities in 2014. Millions of pesos were lost and perpetrators faced syndicated estafa charges.

The former immediate superior of this writer is still in hiding until now. She was the biggest endorser of the scam program in Tanauan City during the time of its operation.

8. PIPC (Performance Investment Products Corporation)

Just as the FrancSwiss scam was on the wane, another scam replaced the financial sector involving a Singaporean and hundreds of wealthy Filipino investors. PIPC was a high-yielding investment program that ran from March to July 2007. It was classified as an internet Ponzi scheme and promised investors 4.5% interest daily for their minimum investments of USD1,000., which could be encashed through Internet-to-bank transactions.

9. Legacy Group of Companies

Celso de los Angeles masterminded the Legacy insurance and pension scam. In 2008, it fascinated a lot of Filipinos to invest as legacy banks offered “double your money” schemes. The pyramid then collapsed the same year with P30 billion loss. Angeles was put in jail for numerous cases of syndicated estafa, but he died of cancer in 2012.

10. Success200

Success200 operates in a different location in the Philippines and even abroad. The scam company engage in investment-taking activities where one person is enticed to invest at least 1,800pesos (low-end) to 36,000pesos (high-end) with a promised return of 10,000pesos for the low-end and 200,000pesos for the high-end. Although Success200 has SEC registration issued to operate as an entity, it doesn’t have a license to solicit investments as required under Section 8.1 of the Securities Regulation Code.

As of today, the business website of Success200 is still up. I do want to warn you that taking investment, recruiting members that also have to shell out money are considered red flags for a pyramid scheme.

11. One Lightning Corporation

One Lightning Corporation invites people to invest in cosmetics and healthcare products with high returns. The compensation plan reveals a shared profit of 70% to its investors. However, the company focus on recruiting new investors/members more. They give referral awards for new recruits and bonuses at every level for three levels of referrals made. A sum of 70million was scammed by One Lightning Corporation and they stopped paying back all of their investors.

See Also: Graduating Student Lost a Semester in School Due to RUAffiliates Online MLM Scam Scheme

As of today, six officials including Ito brothers who play the role of President and Chairman respectively were already in prison.

12. 12Daily Pro

12DP was an auto surf program, which opened in 2005.  It assured members with 12% daily return on their invested funds for 12 days where they run a program to automatically view certain websites and supposedly create advertising revenue. But in early 2006, the 12DP was already unable to settle its maturing investments, eventually leading to its downfall. The owner was said to have taken away $500 million of the investors’ money.

13. Royal Manchester Five

RMF led to P2 billion loss when its currency trading scheme turned out to be bogus. It supposedly guaranteed 4% yield per month, with a minimum investment of P200,000. This multi-billion scam has put thousands of Filipinos in a downward spiral, including local politicians and celebrities.

Current Program to Watch

RUAffiliates is the most online MLM program today, and although it claims that it is selling digital products, its marketing strategy is no different from a typical MLM scam.

The confessed owner of RUAffiliates Wesley Bacate was one of the major endorsers of Success200. With excellent PR and sales talking ability, Bacate is known to be an expert in duping people with his speaking tricks.

RUAffiliates will be included in the list above soon once it reaches its saturation point. /Jimmy Mendoza/ Other Sources: Toptenph, Savingpinay

 
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