A 25-year-old, self-styled entrepreneur from Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) is facing charges of estafa and violation of the Anti-Cybercrime Prevention Act for allegedly duping his former batchmates into joining his get-rich-quick scam.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed the charges against Benjamin Mari Yap Limjap before the Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office based on three complaints filed by victims from ADMU.
A source familiar with the NBI’s investigation said Limjap had duped several other batchmates and friends from Ateneo but they have yet to press charges due to the huge amount of money they lost.
Limjap went to the NBI last year and this reporter was able to interview him. Limjap claimed that he lost about P200 million in trading gold and bitcoin. He, however, promised to return his schoolmates’ investments.
According to the complainants’ affidavits, Limjap posted an advertisement looking for financial backers in 2017 on the Facebook group Ateneo Trade, which counts ADMU alumni and students as members.
Limjap told interested Ateneans that he would use their money to buy verified Paypal accounts that would later be sold for a profit.
An Atenean scammed by Limjap said his school mate promised a 20-percent return on investment under a 90-day maturity period. As proof of the investment, Limjap provided the investors an IOU contract covering the transactions and photocopy of his passport.
The contract was sent to the investors through email after they deposited money into Limjap’s bank account.
Limjap’s victims said they were able to earn from their initial investments, which enticed them not only to entrust bigger amounts to him but also take in fellow Ateneans to join Limjap’s scheme.
But after getting more deposits from his victims, Limjap went scarce along with his fellow Ateneans’ money.
In 2019, Limjap deactivated his Facebook account and his schoolmates could no longer contact him. There was also no update on what happened to their investments.
“The victims were Limjap’s high school and college friends, so it was easy for them to trust him,” a victim said.
An investor messaged Limjap hoping to get his money back. A copy of the message was submitted to the NBI.
“I’m trying not to have any doubts but please reply. All my life savings are with you. I know you are not a bad guy, so I’m begging you, please don’t run or anything like that,’’ the victim pleaded in one of his text messages to Limjap.
The NBI urged Limjap’s other victims to come forward as it continues to its probe on the investment scam.
First Published in Bilyonaryo.com. Edited and Reported by ITC, AdChoiceTV News.