Updates on the Royal Manchester Five scam

James Ryan Jonas

Just a month after the Royal Manchester Five scam became public, there seems to be less media attention now and the enthusiasm of victims to run after the scammers is beginning to die down.

We scoured the internet for recent updates on this scam but failed to get news on major developments. Here’s what we’ve seen, though.

Pyramiding scam charges filed (March 26, 2008 – Source)

The government has started filing charges against the officials of Royal Manchester Five Trading Corp., a company accused of duping over 3,000 investors in a P2.1-billion scam, an official said yesterday.

The first case of syndicated estafa was filed in Manila this week against RMF owner and president Cyrus Yap Hao, comptroller Rowena Uy, senior vice presidents Joseph Bualay and Edwin Rosas, executive vice president Joselev Colina, and company agent Suzette Uy Pinto.

NBI agent Ronald Aguto said his agency filed the case following a complaint from seven employees of a Manila hotel where Uy Pinto also worked and doubled as an RFM agent.

Aguto said Uy-Pinto promised her officemates 3 to 5 percent monthly interest if they invested their money in RMF, and they later put in P200,000 to P500,000.

They were issued good post-dated checks initially, but “those were followed subsequently by stale checks,” he said.

Aguto said the NBI would also file separate cases of syndicated estafa against RFM officials before the Justice Department in a week’s time after consolidating all complaints against them.

The elders of three religious groups said they would also file charges against their pastors who enticed their members to invest in RMF.

Harry Soriano of the Victory Christian Fellowship, Ferdinand Tolentino of Jesus the Cornerstone Ministries, and Eric Magtabog of The Lord’s Assembly are being blamed for the loss of thousands of pesos in members’ money to RMF.

BIR urged to go after suspects in investment scam (March 13, 2008 | Source)

Lawmakers called on the Bureau of Internal Revenue to investigate and prosecute six officials of the Royal Manchester Five Trading Corp. who are allegedly involved in a new multi-billion peso investment scam.

Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas said the government should do something about the racket that victimized even celebrities. He said the suspects should be liable “for possible wholesale income tax evasion.”

In a statement, Gullas said that “the authorities should find ways to establish that they made a lot of potentially taxable income, but never reported, much less paid taxes.”

Solon tells AMLC to freeze accounts of RMF officials (March 12, 2008 | Source)

A lawmaker called on the Anti-Money Laundering Council to conduct an investigation and “freeze” the bank accounts of six officials of the Royal Manchester Five Trading Corp, which is allegedly involved in multi-billion peso investment fraud.

“To protect what is left of the money put in by the investing public, the AMLC should take purposeful pre-emptive action against the company and its officers and their bank accounts,” lone Catanduanes Rep. Joseph Santiago said.

He also urged the government agency tasked to go after dirty money to check what banks these RMF officers have deposited the money they took from their victims, and find out whether these banks have been “diligent in reporting the suspicious transactions.”

No less than the National Bureau of Investigation confirmed the extent of the fraudulent transactions, and identified the RMF officials as president Cyrus Yap Hao and vice presidents Edwin Rosas, Renato San Juan, Joesedev Colina, Joseph Bualoy and Rowena Uy.

We’ll continue to post updates on the RMF scam here as long as we see one. Here’s to hoping that the victims get the justice they deserve and the scammers sent to where they really belong: jail.

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James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.