Issue of November 15, 2015
     
NEWS
Benguet
Kalinga
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

65th Courier Anniversary Issue
 
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Fraud charges filed vs Satarah owners
by BMC Release

The crackdown against Satarah Investment Group Inc. has begun has with the filing of syndicated estafa charges against its owners for alleged massive investment fraud.

The Office of the City Prosecutor found probable cause to indict owners, managers, and incorporators of Satarah Wellness Marketing and its sister company Siobhann Network Marketing for syndicated estafa.

No bail was recommended for the release of Wing Pan Henrich Lau, Romyllie Batolne-Lau, Michael Keryag, Clare, Ruby, Brigitte, and Charles all surnamed Batolne, and Ruben Dulay Jr.  

In a resolution dated Oct. 26, Investigating Prosecutor Margarita Manalo said officials of Satarah and Siobhann conspired by representing the company as legally engaged in accepting investments, and by telling the complainant, one of their several investors, that for a certain amount, the investment would earn a 30 percent interest in two months. 

The complainant, whose identity the Courier is withholding, initially invested P1 million. On the expected date of maturity, the complainant failed to encash the check that contained the promised interest for the amount invested. Several checks were issued thereafter but all these have not been encashed.

At some point, the complainant attempted to redeem the principal amount but was convinced to transfer the investment to Siobhann where the interest rate is 35 percent. The complainant invested another P1M.

Like in the previous investment, the promised interest was not given and the principal amount was never returned.

The investigating prosecutor said officials of Satarah and Siobhann committed deceit when they invited the public to invest in their company, knowing that both companies are not financially capable of undertaking such business.

“As proprietors, manager, officers and staff of the business, the respondents were fully aware that from the start, the establishments were operating without any paid up capital and has no clear trade by which it can pay the assured the profits to investors,” a portion of the resolution stated.  

Syndicated estafa happens when it is done by three or more persons.

The investigating prosecutor, meanwhile, dismissed the charges against their six employees as they had nothing to do with the transactions of the owners.

Securities and Exchange Commission Baguio field officer Annie Tesoro confirmed last week the regional offices of the National Bureau of Investigation and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group have entertained complaints against Satarah Wellness.

“We have been providing law enforcement agencies such as the NBI with corporate information about Satarah (in relation to the filing of charges),” Tesoro said.

On Friday, S/Supt. Jimmy Catanes, CIDG-Central and North Luzon cluster director, said after the filing of the first case, eight more complainants formally filed their complaints against the company.

CIDG-CNL is the lead agency of the multi-law enforcement task force created by the Cordillera Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council to go after companies and proprietors involved in investment fraud in the region.

After SEC issued a public warning against Satarah Wellness, Satarah Wellness Marketing, and Satarah Wellness International, the company changed its name to Shiobbhan Shareholder, but with same proprietor and same modus.

The company had its offices along Quezon Hill in Baguio and some branches in Benguet. The city office later transferred to Bakakeng and eventually closed.

CIDG-CNL has already filed 160 syndicated estafa cases against 10 investment firms represented by 50 individuals. To date, more than P100 million have been divested from numerous complainants, who lodged cases against these companies.


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