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Complainants in alleged Php1M investment scam advised to go to police

05 October 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Caguioa (with glasses) meets up with a claimant her before going to the Consulate on Sept 20

Hong Kong-based Filipino domestic workers who claim to have lost about Php600,000 in a “double your money” scam are considering taking their complaint to the police after the woman behind the ploy appeared to have reneged on a repayment promise.

The two sides were supposed to meet for a second time at the Consulate on Sunday, Oct 4, to work out a deal before assistance to nationals chief Consul Paul Saret, but neither side showed up.

The Filipina who admitted to taking their money, Ailyn Caguioa, sent word that she couldn’t make it to the meeting. The main complainant, MC, had to go to a doctor after being severely bitten by her employer’s cat, while the 21 other claimants all said they weren’t free that day.


Consul Saret says Caguioa must refund the money of her victims as soon as possible

Consul Saret said he had called the victims as early as the previous Sunday, and they said they were discussing with Caguioa about the amounts that she owed each of them.

“They said they would come yesterday but they didn’t,” he said, adding he was concerned because Caguioa hardly showed remorse even after admitting to telling lies to entice the claimants to put their money in her supposed investment scheme.

Caguioa had insisted that she did not benefit from the huge sums that went into her get-rich-quick scheme in just over a month, which she said was all used paying those who managed to cash in quickly on their supposed investments. 

In their first encounter before Consul Saret on Sept 20, Caguioa said she was willing to repay all the money that she took, but on installment, as she could only promise her own salary as a domestic helper to pay them back.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

The diminutive Caguioa did not reject claims several other Filipinos, including those in the Philippines and migrant workers in other countries, had also put in money in her “Invest, Wait Earn” scheme so that the total claim against her could top Php1million.

On being told this, Consul Saret said it did not seem fair that Caguioa could only promise to repay everyone using only her salary as it could take her years to do so. There was also the possibility that she would just stop paying them altogether after the issue had cooled down.

Saret suggested Caguioa look for other sources of funds so she could repay a big chunk of what she owed in one go, and then appeal to them to allow her to pay the balance in monthly installments as she suggested.

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The ATN head said that if Caguioa couldn’t give back the money of the complainants, the Consulate would be powerless to stop them taking the case to the police as there appeared to be a clear element of fraud in the case.

The complainants said in their written statements that they were enticed to part with their money after Caguioa promised to double, or even triple, their money in just a week or 10 days.

They said Caguioa, though soft-spoken in person, was very convincing in her approach, even sending them copies of her Hong Kong ID and passport as proof she was not out to con them.

   
PINDUTIN PARA SA DETALYE

M.C. said Caguioa even promised to help them all get rich like her, as she claimed to have made a lot of money from an online investment, as well as various businesses in the Philippines, including a water refilling station, an air ticketing, and remittance companies.

At the Consulate meeting, Caguioa admitted all these were a lie she concocted at the instruction of an OFW in UAE who also allegedly told her to set up the investment scam.

The Facebook page created for Caguioa's investors is run by Maricel

She said the OFW called Maricel reportedly assured her that she could make money immediately from using “walwal”, or the act of spreading word about the supposed investment to lure as many people as possible to get into the web of deceit.

Maricel also reportedly advised Caguioa to adopt a “pay-in, pay-out” approach to lure more people in fast.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

What she did not realize, said Caguioa, was that Maricel would use all the money she supposedly received as investment to pay back her supposed investors within a week, so that in less than a month, the pyramid-like structure collapsed.

Caguioa said she ended up owing a lot of people money she never received. Worse, Maricel is now claiming more than Php230,000 from her.

Caguioa said she wanted to clear her name as she had been disowned by her family who were all exposed on social media from the bashings made by her investors, and she needed to work in peace so she could pay them all back.

But she still insisted the scheme had gone bust because her investors did not wait for the right time to claim their earnings.

Saret told the group the Consulate could only help those who are in Hong Kong, as it does not have the power to represent those who are outside its jurisdiction. He suggested those in other countries who are also chasing Caguioa for their money should consult the Philippine embassy or consulate nearest them, or file a case in the Philippines.

But as her creditors, especially those in Hong Kong, had readily entrusted their money to her in full, she should repay them in the same manner.

To help ease the repayment, all the Hong Kong claimants who each lost between a few thousand pesos to more than Php100,000 in the scam, agreed to just ask for just the actual money they had put in, and not include the stupendous interest promised them by Caguioa.

They also agreed to let Caguioa pay part of the money by installment, but only after she had paid them the bulk of what they lost.

The two sides were advised to talk among themselves first, then go back to the Consulate once they agree on a repayment schedule.

But as it turned out, Caguioa was not that all anxious to make amends with her victims. Her latest offer was to pay them using only half her salary each month, a process that, even if she remained true to her word, would take all of six years.

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