FRONTPAGE
NBI warns vs high-stakes scam


The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has cautioned the public against joining in those consultancy companies that may be giving a very high rate and percentage of interest that it almost sounds too good to be true.

The statement was issued by NBI Dumaguete Special Investigator (SI) Ma. Contesa Lastimoso, after receiving several complaints from so called investors who are worried they will not be able to recover their money from a certain 4 iFinance Consultancy with business address in Calindagan, Dumaguete City.

She said a complaint for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 and estafa was filed before the city prosecutors office by one Maico Gablinez, who has invested P700,000 and another P500,000 in the name of a certain pastor of their church or a total of P1.2 million, and more than 10 others are processing an alleged complaint for syndicated estafa against the proprietor identified as Ma. Czarina Dolliente and the socalled financial planners of the trader.

Gablinez claimed he wanted to withdraw his investment from iFinance Consultancy after sensing something is wrong when two of the cheques he received bounced back in March and April this year.

Time and againíthe NBI had been warning the public that if it is too good to be true, it may not be true, because the present interest rates in banks is between .25 percent to .35 percent per month but iFinance has been offering a fix interest of 10 percent monthly that is just too good to be true, SI Lastimoso pointed out.

However, the NBI received reports that iFinance Consultancy was able to settle accounts of several investors, one of the biggest of which was P7 million in December last year who pulled out his investment.

He said the scheme is so enticing because every month youíll be receiving a fixed interest of your deposited amount . In his case he received P50,000 a month in interest. According to him, he sold a small portion of his property to invest in the consultancy business so he will be able to construct an apartment building.

Gablinez did not have any doubt at the start because it was their church pastor who invited him and the rest of the church members to invest with iFinance Consultancy, especially so that one of the financial planners is the son or daughter of the pastor whom he refused to identify.

The contract stipulates that the trader which is iFinance Consultancy will receive cash from the investor to be traded in the foreign exchange market and the latter will agree to let the trader manage his portfolio subject to the terms and conditions.

That the investor has a premium account type with iFinance Consultancy, that the trader will trade the investment cash amount of P500,000 deposited by the investor to the bank account of iFinance Consultancy and it shall earn a monthly interest of 10 percent of the total amount of invesetment. And that the investment is active until the client wants to withdraw the total investments, among others.

SI Lastimoso said that more than 10 who approached the NBI , the total aggregate amount they have invested is P20 million more or less and could reach P200 million for Dumaguete investors alone.

NBI Dumaguete said a certificate from the Securities and Exchange Commission dated August 11, 2016 showed that as per record on file with markets and securities regulations department, iFinance Consultancy has not been issued a license to act as broker, and or dealer of securities, dealer in government securities, investment adviser of an investment company , investment house, among others.

Atty Lindeza Gavino, director of the SEC in Cebu City said as of May 5, 2016, iFinance Consultancy is not licensed to receive investments so it is operating with a license more than four years ago.

Based on technical surveillance conducted by SI Lastimoso, an iFinance company is found operating outside the country but is not sure if the same is engaged in trading foreign exchange.

SI Lastimoso said NBI is verifying reports the consultancy firm is actively recruiting in Mindanao, Cebu, Bacolod and in Manila.

The SEC certification further said the entity is not under any circumstance, authorized or licensed to engage in activities and or solicit investments necessarily connected with or incidental to the pursuit of and carrying on the above mentioned type of business which are required to secure secondary licenses from the Commission.


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