Scam suspect falls in Angeles
After more than a year of playing hide-andseek with the police, a 26-year-old principal suspect in a R1.6-billion investment scam, which also victimized an Egyptian engineer with multimillion pesos, was arrested in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Superintendent Roque Merdegia, head of the AntiTransnational Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-ATCU), said suspect Darlito Marquez dela Cruz has long been wanted by the police following the filing of a case of syndicated estafa against him in March last year.
The arrest warrant against Dela Cruz and other officials of the Hyper Program International Direct Sales and Trading Corporation was issued by a Quezon City regional trial court in July last year.
Dela Cruz, who won the Mr. Globe for Luzon in 2010, is tagged as the board chairman of the HPI. He was arrested at around 1 p.m. on Sunday at Henson Ville in Angeles City.
The arrest warrant stemmed from a case filed by Egyptian Asraf Mohamed Abdelrahma Akl and his Filipino wife who lost R15 million and $300,000 to the group of dela Cruz.
Based on the investigation of the NBI, HPI reportedly duped some 16,000 investors, most of them are Overseas Filipino Workers based in the Middle East.
A background check revealed that HPI would allegedly recruit investors through Facebook to invest on cosmetics and health and wellness products.
In return, HPI promised from 30-percent to 35-percent earnings in a span of 40 to 45 days.
“HPI investors and customers were swayed by the suspect to invest money with a promise of huge interests and/or products/ merchandise which will yield high profits,” a statement from the CIDG read.
“The problem was that HPI failed to deliver to their patrons after the latter had put in their cash investments, which started to raise doubts and suspicions about HPI until the company closed and ceased operations in November 2016 taking away with them over a billion peso worth of investments they received from their customers.,” it added.
It was recalled that in early 2015, HPI customers flocked to the NBI to file complaint against dela Cruz and other officers of the company.
Dela Cruz’s co-accused, lawyer Anthony Purganan, was already arrested by the CIDG on July 22 last year.