Scam victims appeal to operators, agents to just return their money

Three of the victims of the “Complan” crypto currency trading scam in Panganiban town and surrounding areas have appealed to the scheme’s operators and their “downline” agents to just return the money they have invested.

In an interview with Tribune reporter Arvin Anthony Tabuzo, a retired public school teacher recalled that at first, he did not believe in the scheme even as his neighbors enticed him to join, claiming they were earning so much money while at home.

But when a cousin claimed to have earned P20,000 which he reinvested, the retiree finally gave in and invested a total of P100,000 on several “pay-in” slots starting June 2021.

His initial investment was supposed to be returned together with his profit by June 27, but the date came and went with the retiree waiting for his payout.

He became alarmed as the Panganiban town fiesta on July 24-25 was fast approaching and he wanted to prepare for drinks and food.

The promised payout on July 6 and 14 also came to nothing, prompting him to sacrifice the small pension he received to pay for the meat he had already ordered.

His agent, who he said is a government employee at the Catanduanes State University’s Panganiban Campus, told him to wait a while and promised to give what was due him on Aug. 7 as the payout was allegedly being arranged.

When the payout did not happen, this finally woke him up to the realization that the Complan investment scheme was indeed a scam.

“Hahabulin namin ang agent, kaya dapat pukpukin din nila si Maureen,” the retiree said.

All of the investments given to the agent are hard-earned money, he stressed.

Even abaca strippers in coastal areas of Panganiban sold their fiber even before they could be harvested just so they could invest while some government employees mortgaged their ATM cards “para lang may maitaya,” the retiree shared.

Claiming that one agent remitted a total of P4.5 million, the retiree expressed wonderment that for such a small town as Panganiban, there was so much money floating around.

His appeal to the agents and the investment scheme operator: “Ibalik lang ang capital.”

Describing the prayer for the agent to just return the investment as “suntok sa buwan,” he asked about what would happen to those who do not even have enough food to eat and could not even pay for the services of a lawyer.

Their only hope, he stressed, is for a government agency like the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) or the police to file a case, on which victims could ride on.

He said the idea of victims jointly filing a complaint is good but everyone should be united and in it until the end.

“Dapat walang bibitaw,” the former teacher urged, citing the possibility that some of them could back off from the case once the respondents pay them all or part of their investments.

His appeal to the scheme’s and agents: “Makunsensiya naman kayo. Maawa na man kayo. Pinaghirapan yan. Huwag kayong maghugas-kamay. Kasi yung mga agent na yan, hundred percent nakinabang man yan. Hindi naman yan magre-recruit at magkokolekta kung wala silang porsiyento. I don’t think so.”

Another victim told the Tribune that she and her husband did not receive the promised payouts last June and sought help how they could recover their investments.

She claimed that the founder of the online scheme has already used the money of investors to buy houses, land, a car and expensive dogs and that the founders and their agents are already in hiding as they could no longer pay their investors.

She said she does not want to come out in public as she is pregnant and that she was depending on the earnings from the investment to spend for her baby’s delivery

Even her sibling who is a student is depending on the payout for the tuition payment last July but could no longer enroll.

No receipts or even a piece of paper was given to them by their agents, who just acknowledged the investments through conversations on social media, she said.

On the other hand, a laborer who does odd jobs for a living was enticed by a relative to part with the P15,000 he had saved through months of hard work.

“Dai lamang,” he answered when asked if he ever got the promised high earnings. “Maibalik lamang maski daing tubo.”

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