Following the arrest of Eleazar Castillo, alleged "chief financial adviser" of the online high-yield investment program (HYIP) FrancSwiss, the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) released on July 6 a press release explaining the details of the arrest.
The NBI accused Castillo and nine others, including an American and two Singaporean nationals, of involvement in a large-scale online investment fraud. The arrest stemmed from complaints filed by three Filipino investors against the suspects. Charges of syndicated estafa have been filed against the latter by the NBI.
Full text of the NBI press release after the jump.
National Bureau of Investigation
July 6, 2007
An internet-based international pyramiding syndicate was busted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) with the arrest of one of its key officials in Baguio City, the other day.
NBI Director Nestor M. Mantaring identified the suspect as:
ELEAZAR CASTILLO Y BALDOVINO alias ELI, of legal age, Filipino, and a native of Pug-os, Cabuyao, Ilocos Sur, is the Chief Financial Adviser of FRANCSWISS INVESTMENT (FS Investment) with virtual office at www.francswiss.biz.net.
The other suspects who are at-large are:
JAIME "Jimpol" POLIQUIT, of Davao City; GARRY ESPIRITU, of Metro Manila; alias JOMARC of Fairview, Quezon City; EDWIN SENDANA, of Pasig City; EDWARD RICALDE, of Pampanga; CHRIS ERABON, of Baguio City; and
ROGER SMITH, of legal age, US national, head of FRANCSWISS INVESTMENT in the Asia-Pacific region, and RAYMOND CHUA and BENSY FONG, of legal ages, Singaporean nationals, with known address at No. 280 Madison Avenue, 912 – 9th Floor New York, NY10016, USA.
According to the National Capital Region (NCR) headed by RD Ruel M. Lasala, the NBI received complaints of three (3) victims, namely, FREDERICO V. OLARTE, GLEN MANUEL R. SUNGA and PHILIP B. FERNANDO. They were browsing thru the internet when they read the advertisement of FS Investment that a ONE THOUSAND DOLLAR (US$1,000) investment would earn a daily interest of US$45. They also read at FS Investment's website that the investment would also earn 10% for recruiting other investors that is called "e-points" which could not be encashed but could be sold to another investor.
The earning is on-top of the 4.5% interest rate allegedly being earned by the ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS (US$1,000) investment. What could allegedly be encashed was the daily interest thru an internet-to-bank transaction. It was because of this set-up that each investor must have a banking facility preferably with BANCO DE ORO, CITIBANK and EQUITABLE BANK.
The victims called up the posted cellular phone numbers on the website of FS Investment. One of the suspects, who identified himself as a certain ELEAZAR "ELI" CASTILLO, invited victims for a face-to-face meeting at Starbucks Coffee, located at Metrowalk, Ortigas, Pasig City. Victims arrived for the meeting with said suspect who also introduced them to JAIME "Jimpol" POLIQUIT, CHRIS ERABON, ALIAS JOMARC, and GARRY ESPIRITU, as Financial Advisers.
The Head Office is located at No. 280, Madison Avenue 912 – 9th Floor, New York NY10016, USA. In the Asia-Pacific region, FS Investment is being managed by ROGER SMITH of USA. Singaporean nationals identified as RAYMOND CHUA and BENSY FONG and Filipino officers listed as; ELEAZAR "ELI" CASTILLO; JAIME "Jimpol" POLIQUIT; GARRY ESPIRITU; ALIAS JOMARC; EDWIN SENDANA; EDWARD RICARTE; CHRIS ERABON, and several others.
The victims invested US$1,000 each but no receipts were issued by suspects. ELI only informed victims that a confirmation detail would be posted on the website of FS Investment. Victim OLARTE was confirmed his Trading account on being a registered FrancSwiss investor, since a confirmation detail was sent to him bearing his registration, Trading account ID number, and Trading account name.
The two investors SUNGA and FERNANDO, did not receive anything at all and were just told by ELI to wait which lasted for a long time. Eventually they sought NBI investigative assistance.
Suspect ELI instructed victim to give the additional investment to him in a certain restaurant in downtown Baguio City where suspect was allegedly in a business meeting. Upon seeing victim who was accompanied by an undercover NBI operative, suspect ELI met them and asked for the additional investment.
Moments after the pay-off, operatives of the NBI-NCR and CAR immediately approached suspect ELI and arrested him. He was apprised of his right and subsequently brought to the NBI-NCR office and later, at NBI-NCR office in Manila.
Charges of violation of Article 315 in relation to Presidential Decree 1689 (Syndicated Estafa) had been filed against suspect ELI and several other suspects.