BAGUIO CITY – Complaints against the operators, including account managers of the alleged casino junket scam group Team Z, tagged to have carted away at least P4 billion worth of investments” from this city alone, have flooded the National Bureau of Investigation-Cordillera.
The complainants claimed that they were defrauded of their hard-earned money.
One complainant told NBI investigators that Team Z ring leaders, whose identities were withheld pending the probe, duped them into believing that they would continue receiving their five percent monthly return of investment and two percent more for those who convinced others to invest in the casino junket financing scheme meant for a popular casino in Parañaque City.
Sixty individuals have lodged complaints against the Team Z scam ring leaders as of Tuesday afternoon. The number might go up in the coming days as sources vouch there are least 10,000 investors, from street sweepers to government employees to businessmen who fell victim in this city.
Complainants said that they were receiving their payouts during the first few months of their investments.
However, they said it did not last long as the hundreds of millions of investments collected from
Baguio City investors were not actually invested into casino financing but were lumped and pocketed by the operators of the Team Z group.
Complainants claimed investors are issued investment contracts but are disguised as contracts of loan. They said that the real intent was to invest but they had to execute and sign a contract of loan instead in order to receive their payouts. Investments are locked in for a period of 12 months.
Complainants who vowed to become government witnesses bared that they are in deep in debt because leaders of Team Z enticed them into taking a 30/70 car and housing loan, promising they would shell out the monthly 70 percent amortization payments after the investor shells out the 30 percent downpayment.
“Kalaunan, hindi na nagbayad ng monthly amortization (ang Team Z), kaya niremata yung sasakyan o bahay (Team Z was unable to pay monthly amortization and these vehicles and houses were repossessed),” one of the complainants said.
Investment amounts varied with P31 million the highest for a single investor.
Another investor said his family’s total investments amounted to P7 million which were pooled from his own personal savings, his mother’s government retirement pay, and money from family members whom he convinced to contribute to the Team Z investment scheme.
When one of the would-be government witness tried to pull out his investment, the operators ordered him to look for other investors to replace his slot and the money that the new investor will infuse shall be the pull-out investment she will receive, proving it as a classic Ponzi scheme.
Last March, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Cease-and-Desist-Order (CDO) against Team Z, the Philippine National Esports League (PNEL), and at least four dozen personalities involved in the casino junket financing operation.
The SEC also filed criminal charges against these groups and personalities for violating government securities regulations and laws.
The CDO however did not stop the casino junket group from operating not only in Baguio City but all of Northern Luzon and beyond.