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Man arrested for estafa, illegal investment scheme

LAW enforcers in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte arrested Thursday a person behind an alleged entity which the Securities and Exchange Commission flagged for soliciting investments from the public even without the necessary licenses.

Based on the report of the Col. Frederick Deles-led police station, a police team arrested Arnel T. Aratia based on the arrest warrant issued by Judge Vernard Quijano of the Regional Trial Court Branch 153 in Biñan City, Laguna.

In a phone interview, Deles said the Laguna police informed his police station last month about the possibility of Aratia’s presence in the town where he has a radio station. This prompted the police station to monitor the movement of the personnel of the radio station, which doubles as Aratia’s office, and eventually resulted in his arrest.

“We received information and when we verified we found out that it was really him,” the police officer said, adding that investigators found out that the suspect did not stay in the town as he would only visit the radio station.

On whether there were individuals who filed complaints against Aratia in the town, Deles said the police station has not received any complaints. 

However, he said, there were those who complained against another entity early this year, but that the complainants have not gone back to bring proof that they were duped.

Quijano issued the warrant of arrest on an non-bailable syndicated estafa case and two counts for the violation of Sections 8 and 28 of the Securities Regulation Code which specifically spell out the need for secondary licenses when presenting investment instruments to the public.

The report said Aratia, president and owner of the Achievers Golden Marketing and Consulting’s (AGMC), was arrested in RPJ Village, Feeder Road 3, Tibal-og, Sto. Tomas.

Aratia’s registered residence is in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur but based on the report of the SEC-Davao Extension Office (SEC-DEO), his entity had an office here.

The SEC-DEO welcomed the arrest of Aratia as it hoped that similar entities would be stopped for preying on unsuspecting residents who were looking for instruments to invest in.

The office reiterated that the public must first verify whether an entity has licenses to solicit investments from the public as it pointed out that promises that “are too good to be true are often not true.”

In September 2020, the agency released an advisory warning the public to stop investing in AGMC as it did not have a legal personality to solicit investments.

Based on the advisory, AGMC was luring investors to its cash back program, an investment instrument that accepts a capital between P5,000 to P1 million with a promise of profit between one and 30 percent, dependent on the investment, on a monthly basis for three months.

SEC-DEO has been warning the public about the proliferation of investment schemes in the region especially amid the pandemic where criminals would try to entice those looking for high returns for their money.

 

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