Scam sus­pect falls in An­ge­les

Manila Bulletin - - Luzon News - AARON B. RE­CUENCO

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.

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