Philstar, November 14, 2012
MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) — The departments of Interior, Justice and Finance are jointly probing a pyramid scam that has reportedly victimized thousands of people in central and southern Philippines, Presidential Palace Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said today.
Lacierda urged the public to remain vigilant against scams disguised as “instant wealth” and to remember the adage that if something is too good to be true, then it probably is, as in the case of Aman Futures.
The three departments have ordered investigation into Aman Futures, Lacierda said.
He said the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a notice to the public on Aman Futures Group in August, following reports that it was operating in Pagadian City, offering securities to the public with a “double your money” promise.
The group, founded by Malaysian national Manuel Amalilio, allegedly gypped thousands of victims including politicians, police and military personnel, overseas workers and government employees.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that she wanted Amalilio and other executives of the trading firm to be brought to justice before the end of the year.
“We want to file the case in court before the year ends. We are checking those who are hiding. If they have left, we will check the countries of destination so we can immediately invoke existing bilateral agreements like MLAT (mutual legal assistance treaty),” de Lima said.
According to the NBI, Amalilio owned three private planes and two units at Upper Mckinley Hills Garden Villas in Taguig City. He also owned a house in Cebu City and Dapitan City.
The company was able to lure investors by encouraging them to invest in a double-your-money investment scheme.
Unsuspecting victims, mostly low-income earners in central Philippine region of Visayas and southern region of Mindanao, were promised a return of the entire sum of their investment plus investment profit ranging from 30 percent to 40 percent in less than a month.
Aman representatives claimed that the profit from the investments would come from a Malaysian brokerage firm, Okachi, supposedly engaged in futures trading of commodities such as oil, manganese, palm oil and nickel.