Emgoldex victims confront recruiters

NEARLY 500 Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong and their kin were lured into investing in the get-rich-quick scheme of Emgoldex and its related entities, victims of the scam said.

Vice Consul Alex Vallespin, officer-incharge of the Assistance to National Section- Philippine Consulate General (PCG), and Attache Hermogenes Cayabyab Jr., met on February 21 with around 20 Filipino domestic workers who claimed that they were victimized through the scam.

The workers also confronted during the meeting at the PCG the two Filipino women who allegedly received the money they “invested” in Emgoldex, and its related entities: Global Intergold, and Prosperous Infinite Philippines Holdings Corp.

According to the complainants, they paid P36,000 or $6,675 for a solo investment account at Emgoldex. For “shared accounts,” five investors paid $1,335 each.

Vallespin told Hong Kong News that the complainants were also set to execute sworn affidavits, which will be forwarded to the Department of Foreign Affairs office in Manila.

“Sasabihin din namin ito sa quarterly Technical Working Group meeting namin with Immigration and Labour dito para malaman din nila na may ganito at masabi natin na may mga kababayan tayong nag-invest sa pyramiding at mapag-aralan din nila,” he said.

During the PCG meeting, which lasted for more than one hour, Vallespin told the complainants to stop recruiting other Filipinos in Hong Kong to join Emgoldex.

“Gusto ko sana sabihin sa atin na alam naman natin na inuulit-ulit na natin na kapag ganito na wala namang produkto na pinapakita, walang produktong umiikot, tapos magbibigay ka ng pera at magii-invite ka para kumita, ibig sabihin may naloloko sa ilalim,” Vallespin said.

“May mga networking na produkto so…iyong mga ganoon pwede kang kumita, kahit hindi ka nagrerecruit. Pero kung tao-tao lang talaga, pyramiding talaga iyan,” he said.

“Ang request ko lang sa inyo, itigil na ‘to. Sinasabing mag-invite pa para kumita kayo at maibalik man lang ang investment ninyo (pero) kawawa naman ang iba. Sa tingin ninyo, yung na-invite ninyo sa ilalim, sino ang hahabulin? Kayo na kasi kayo na ang kakilalang nag-recruit,” Vallespin said.

MJ and Evelin, the two Filipino women who were identified by the complainants as the ones who received their investments, also attended the meeting after the complainants told the PCG that MJ refused to reply to their messages to her.

A certain Rosalie, the third person who allegedly also got their money and “encoded their investments,” did not attend.

MJ, a domestic helper whose employer is a Chinese family, said she would be able to return the money of those “not encoded” or not “activated” yet and pay them out of her own salary.

However, she said she would be unable to refund the money of those whose accounts have been encoded as their money was already with the “Germany-based company.”

Her statement drew angry reactions from the complainants. Those with “encoded” accounts said that they were uncertain that their accounts were indeed encoded as MJ did not issue any receipt.

“Pero ikaw ang nakinabang kahit na-encode na,” said one of the women.

“Ngayon, may mga pruweba po na um-exit nga iyong isa pero hindi niya nakuha ang pera na reward niya, na-withdraw ng iba,” said another.

Meanwhile, those whose accounts have yet to be encoded said it would take years for MJ to give back the money that they invested in Emgoldex. They then asked MJ if she had other sources of funds so that she could repay the complainants.

P2 million
When MJ remained silent, some of the women said MJ used to brag that she had been given a bonus of over P2 million because she owned 13 investment accounts in Emgoldex. The women also said that MJ was able to buy a car and a water refilling station in the Philippines.

MJ retorted, “Bakit ninyo papakialaman iyon?”

MJ was also accused of charging investors who had no “proof of address” an additional $50 so that she could “produce” their proof of address.

MJ asked for patience from those whose accounts have yet to be encoded, saying that they would have to wait for their turn as she was already refunding the money of others who invested.

“Pwede kong sagutin pero iyon lang matitira sa sahod ko. Of course, hindi naman ganoon kalaki ang sahod ko. Magsasacrifice din ako ng sahod ko. Maghintay naman kayo,” MJ said.

Some of the women replied that they were losing patience because “Rosalie” had been evading them, and allegedly said, “Bakit kami magpapa-meeting sa inyo? Para singilin ninyo?”

“Ang inuuna mo kasi [na bayaran] iyong close friends mo,” said one.

Another said: “Sabi mo kasi hangga’t nasa Facebook ka at hindi ka nawawala sa Facebook, hindi kami mag-aalala. Pero nawala ka na sa Facebook.”

“Ang account ko before, account din ni Rosalie, siya ang nakaka-receive ng messages ninyo. Ngayon lang ako uli nagka-FB,” MJ said.

One complainant added that they would be routinely kicked out of the group’s chatroom whenever they questioned “irregularities” in Emgoldex.

“Sabi pa ni Rosalie, ‘Magpa-Tulfo, magpa-consulate pa kayo’,” one of the complainants added.

“Nagsimulang nag-collapse iyong investment nung nagbago ang pangalan ng Emgoldex (at) naging Global Intergold. Tapos sabi ni MJ, nasira daw kasi ang system,” another complainant said.

Vallespin urged the complainants to refrain from recruiting more “investors” into the scheme.

‘Hindi na’
“Sabi ko nga sa inyo, kikita kayo dahil may maloloko sa ilalim ninyo at sila naman ang kawawa. So kung sinasabihan kayo na mag-recruit kayo, mag-rerecruit pa ba kayo?” Vallespin said.

The women replied: “Hindi na.”

However, one complainant said others were still recruiting.

“Bakit sa ibang grupo tuloy-tuloy pa rin sila? May binibigay pa ring pera,” she said.

Another complainant said she might have been “naive” for believing MJ, but her mother and her niece were also convinced to invest and entrusted their money to MJ.

The Securities and Exchange Commission in Manila has sued Emgoldex, and Global Intergold, and Prosperous Infinite for allegedly selling unregistered securities to the public without a license, or violating Section 8 and 28 of the Securities and Regulation Code (SRC).

According to previous Facebook posts, investing in Emgoldex Philippines “Pinoy Style Patak Patak” will earn profits of P5,000 to P10,000 for a mere P1,000 investment. A placement of P35,000 will have an interest of between P180,000 and P360,000.

The PCG asked Arthur Buban of Love Peace and Unity Pinoy (HK) Group to help facilitate the submission of required documents from the complainants. Buban helped arrange their meeting with the PCG officials.