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NBI on manhunt for 7 in P500-M scam

Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - April 9, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said yesterday it is on a manhunt for seven officials of One Lightning Corp., a direct selling and investment firm shut down by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for allegedly duping clients of P500 million.

The manhunt comes after the Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 155 issued hold departure orders against One Lightning president Terrence Kenji Ito and chairman Theodore Yuji Ito and incorporators Aldus Renier Tubiera, Joanary Roxas, Jake Ryu Oprecio, Edmer Maligaya, Kent Ortiz and Marcos Jordan de Mesa on Feb. 29.

All eight are young professionals, with ages ranging from 22 to 28, the NBI said.

Last Wednesday, NBI agents arrested De Mesa in the office of Aero International in Quezon City. The SEC has also issued warnings against Aero International.

Roxas and Ortiz were not at the Aero International office when NBI agents served a warrant issued by the Pasig Court on Jan. 5 against the Itos and the One Lightning incorporators for syndicated estafa, a non-bailable crime.

The warrant – the first, since more complaints against One Lightning are up for resolution with the Pasig City prosecutor’s office – stated that the suspects failed to return as much as P500 million from 100 investors.

One Lightning, formed in Pasig in 2014, initially sold health and beauty products and anti-cancer medicine and recruited prospective investors through networking.

The firm promised up to 80 percent return on investment.

The SEC issued a cease and desist order against One Lightning for selling unregistered securities in March 2015.

The NBI said its agents later found out One Lightning officials set up another SEC-registered company and two others, no longer SEC-listed, all engaged in direct selling and networking.

They put up Forward Direct Selling Corp., which was also slapped with a cease and desist order from SEC for the same violation.

The NBI said the suspects also reportedly set up Aero International and Oasis Wellness and Beauty Corp., which operated without SEC registration.

 

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