Thousands duped in P12-billion scam

Politicians, soldiers, cops, OFWs among those duped


BLOOD MONEY Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas on Tuesday assures victims of a multibillion-peso pyramid scam in Pagadian City that the government will run after the perpetrators of the scheme. RICHEL V. UMEL/ INQUIRER MINDANAO

A company managed by a former janitor and driver, and founded just early this year, has duped at least 15,000 people in Mindanao and the Visayas of P12 billion in a pyramid scam, an official of the National Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday.

The NBI identified the company as Aman Futures Group Phils. Inc.

“Some of the victims committed suicide and others have become violent and sick when they learned their hard-earned money was gone,” said Virgilio Mendez, NBI deputy director for regional operations services, who was investigating the scam.

Among Aman Futures’ victims were local politicians, police and military personnel, government workers, market vendors, farmers, drivers, retired employees and overseas Filipino workers, according to Mendez.

He said the number of “complainants from across the country is piling up.”

Mendez said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had ordered the NBI to file estafa cases against executives and directors of Aman Futures namely Manuel K. Amalilio, Fernando “Nonoy” R. Luna, Lelian Lim Gan, Edward L. Lim, William L. Fuentes, Naezelle M. Rodriguez and Lurix Lopez.

High return

The first investors of the company were low-income people but professionals and retired employees followed because of the promise of a high return on investment, Mendez said.

MANUEL AMALILIO: Suspected mastermind disappears. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“The first clients of Aman Futures were market vendors in Pagadian City who invested P1,000 with a 70-percent return after one week,” he said.

The NBI deputy director said Luna, who managed the multibillion scam, “is a former driver and utility person for a company located near the Pagadian City public market.”

Luna’s boss, Amalilio, is a 32-year-old Malaysian, whose Malaysian name is Mohammad Suffian Saaid. His wife is identified as Abigail Pendulas, and they have two children, ages 2 and 1.

Luna and Amalilio and their families are now in hiding, according to Mendez.

Private planes

The NBI official said Amalilio  reportedly owned three private planes and two units at Upper Mckinley Hills Garden Villas in Taguig City. He also owns a house in Cebu City and Dapitan City.

“He visits his offices in Mindanao and Visayas using private planes and luxury cars,” Mendez said.

He said Aman Futures was able to lure investors by offering a 30-percent to 40-percent return on investment within eight days, and a 50-percent to 80-percent profit for 18 to 20 days.

“The amount of interest varies depending on the investment or money placements,” Mendez said.

Modus operandi

He said the modus operandi of Aman Futures was to offer a return through a postdated check of the entire sum of the investment plus a profit up to 80 percent.

“Because of the huge interest, the number of investors of Aman Futures increased tremendously,” Mendez said.

Due to its success in Pagadian City, Aman Futures expanded its business to other cities and provinces like Lanao del Sur and Zamboanga in Mindanao and to Cebu City, he said.

Lands, houses mortgaged

With the huge increase in the number of investors, Aman Futures  raised its required minimum investment from P1,000 to  P200,000,” Mendez said.

“And in order to meet the new requirement, investors pooled their resources and others mortgaged lands and houses to comply with the requirement,” Mendez said.

He said investors started lining up at 2 in the morning although the office of Aman Futures Group had yet to open at 8 a.m.

No queues for VIPS

Every day, some 3,000 people were lining up at the office of Aman Futures in Pagadian City. “But VIPs were not required to fall in line and could deal directly with Luna,” Mendez said.

“The complainants said at the beginning that they thought they could realize their dreams to own cars and expensive things by making more investments in Aman Futures,” Mendez said.

He said the victims trusted Aman Futures largely because of endorsements from local officials.

“They trusted Aman Futures because even local government officials had openly endorsed it and admitted to have invested also,” Mendez explained.

Mendez said the NBI had received reports that government funds could have been used to invest in Aman Futures.

“We are currently investigating if government funds were used by local officials who invested in the scam,” Mendez said.

He declined to name the officials, but said charges would be filed against these officials should they be found to have used public funds.

Mendez said investors had started filing complaints in the NBI against Aman Futures in September for its failure to pay back their money.

Bouncing checks

At first, the victims could receive cash by just showing their official receipts. But later, investors were issued postdated checks with a 50-day maturity date in lieu of cash.

“But the checks issued by Aman Futures started to bounce and the account was eventually closed,” Mendez said.

Mendez said some victims had resorted to burning the houses of relatives of Aman Futures employees. “So far, two houses of Luna’s relatives were torched by victims who demanded they return their money,” he said.

Mendez said that complainants had been going to Keppel Building in the Cebu City Business Park office of Aman Futures, registered under another name, FRETZ and Sha Trading.

In Lanao del Sur, Mendez said, Aman Futures used another name, Jachob Amer Rasunan Co.

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  • isalexus

    NATUTULOG ang mga galamay ng Tuwid na Landas!!! Nghayon lang nagisgising yung mga guwapito at Guwapita Roxas at de Lima!!! Hoy- the horses are out already and you are just about to close the barn door?

    • Jhun Santos

      seriously, anong gusto mo isang araw lang e masosolve na ang problema?? we have what we call PROCESS, d mo naman pwedeng ipadampot kaagad yung mga nang biktima

      they also have a right of attorney kahit gaano pa kasama yung nagawa ng mga yan

      and we have what we call PLANNING , iisipin mo muna kung ano yung best approach sa problema, maski si superman inde kaya yan ng isang araw

      • isalexus

        You are just being an apologist for the present “power- that-be”!!! Anong planning ang dapat gawin? There are security laws already existing long before this scam was perpetrated!!!!! Ponzi scheme was not invented yesterday!! GISING!!!

      • screwdisk

        kelangan may magsampa muna ng kaso bago magiissue ng warrant. Kaso wala sa mga ganid at tangang mga investors ang gusto tumulong sa NBI kasi kill joy daw ang NBI! Bakit pati katangahan or pagiging ganid isisis lahat sa gobyerno.

      • isalexus

        That’s missing the point of why we have government agencies like the SEC!!! Ano yung nakaupo na lang tumatanggap ng malaking  sahod at naghihintay na may mangyaring salawsa muna bago kumilos?!? Wala ba silang “preventative protocol”? Ano ba ito- wala ng sentido kumon ang lahat ng Pilipino?

      • mave

        Parekoy uulit at uulit ang ganitong kaso kung may taong gahaman sa pera gusto ay sa madaling paraan ang pag lago ng pera nila…pati ba naman ang PAG KAGAHAMAN SA PERA NG IILAN ISISI MO SA GOVERNMENT its not fair pare…

  • isellnuts

    Typical human GREED! They think money grows on trees and just pick it up.

    To all readers, from time to time visit the SEC website and you’ll find at the front page SEC advisories regarding companies doing fraudulent practices.

  • wakeupbayan

    Vigilantes,,,,,, wake up call !!!! These person and its allies needs you desperately !!!!   

    • boyfarmer

      wala na nag tago, hindi na makikita yon

  • vodot

    Tingnan ninyo ang security logbook ng Kongreso kung ilang ulit pumupunta si Aman dyan at kung kaninong ofisina ito tumutuloy.

  • neverwint3r

    biro mo yun, hirap na hirap senado ipasa yung sin tax bill that’s supposed to generate 15 billion in government revenues, samantalang yang malaysian na yan sandali lang nakalikom ng 12 billlion lmao

    how he was able to escape the scrutiny of the sec, the bir, the amlc, dti, central bank,  finance, etc is a big mystery. ganun ba kadali itago yung 12 billion pesos?

    and he was able to flee abroad without being accosted by immigration. and i hear the arrest warrant was sitting in some judges’ lap for one month.

    and his company was operating without even a business permit. the incompetence of certain
    authorities and government officials and agencies not doing their jobs can be shocking sometimes.  these agencies have intelligence funds worth millions. heads should roll.

    yup, something is really wrong with this country

    • screwdisk

      Alam mo ba na may inbestigasyon na dapat kaso walang sa mga investors ang gusto tumestigo laban sa Aman bago sumabog tong scam. Kase kill joy daw kasi ang NBI. Tingnan mo napala nila. Di na natututo! Para sa mga kababayan ko na nabiktima…. walang shortcut sa pagyaman unless tumama ka sa lotto!

  • Raphael

    Ako nawalan din ako ng 500 million kya dapat mahuli yan amalaysian amalayer!!

  • Brahman

    The thousand greedy “kill-joys” who had been warned but still continued to invest. No sympathy for them especially those who stole the government’s money to make themselves rich.

  • justice_league03

    the one that got away… while the Aquino government is so focused on trying to convict other people who they cant prove guilty, the real crooks are getting away.

    while thousands were duped in this scam, millions are continually being duped by the Aquino administration. if people believe in someone who is not even good enough to be true, what more the ones who are too good to be true???

  • isalexus

     Mave- yung sabi mo ”  ulit at uulit ang ganitong kaso kung may taong gahaman sa pera gusto ay sa madaling paraan ang pag lago ng pera nila…pati ba naman ang PAG KAGAHAMAN SA PERA NG IILAN ISISI MO SA GOVERNMENT its not fair – ” You missing the point– if the gov’t can’t be blamed- then why even bother to create an agency like SEC which is apparently slept at the switch in this case!!  Being “gahaman” is actually a part of human nature — but to create an agency specifically to protect the people ( from themselves and others who play on this human weakness)  and yet not perform its mandate is an abomination!! What is not “fair” is paying the fat salaries of those in SEC who were inutile that they failed to pull the plug much earlier!! Ponzi scheme is not new at all and SEC should have recognized it as such immediately– after all they are the “educated financial savies” not those farmers and ordinary wage earners.

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