‘Crypto king’ who stole P100 million falls

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
�Crypto king� who stole P100 million falls
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — A 23-year-old man who allegedly stole at least P100 million from his clients through a cryptocurrency scam was arrested in Parañaque City yesterday.

Vance Joshua Tamayo, the self-proclaimed “crypto king,” and his companion Gerome Laries were arrested by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in front of a casino and entertainment complex along Aseana Avenue in Barangay Tambo at around 4:30 a.m., CIDG director Maj. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr. said.

Caramat said in a text message that operatives of their National Capital Region field office conducted an entrapment operation against Tamayo based on the complaint of a businesswoman from Makati City.

Acting on the complaint, policemen set up an entrapment operation against Tamayo in Makati on Tuesday at around 8:35 p.m., but he and Laries escaped.

They were captured in a follow-up operation in Parañaque the following day.

The CIDG, in its probe, said it discovered that Tamayo had been calling himself a cryptocurrency genius to clients, and promising high returns for their investments.

“He convinced people to invest in him. He said he has a legitimate business, which is cryptocurrency,” CIDG legal division head Col. Thomas Valmonte told reporters in an interview.

Valmonte said Tamayo offered a monthly interest rate of 4.5 percent to investors.

At least 10 people who lost over P100 million have come forward against Tamayo. One of these complainants is a woman who lost P11 million to the suspect.

Valmonte said Tamayo would initially give a return on investment for several months but later stop communicating with his clients.

Valmonte said they are verifying reports that Tamayo also victimized police officers.

Tamayo and Laries are being held on charges of large-scale estafa.

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