In a report via GMA News’ “Balitanghali” on Friday, a former OFW lost millions of pesos after becoming a victim of a scam. He had invested his hard-earned money thinking he would gain more but then, he lost track of all his money and didn’t even know if he would be able to take it back.
According to the report, last October, former OFW Leonardo Austria met with allegedly scam master mind Jonathan Asuncion who disguised himself as Engr. Luis de Guia together with a Japanese national to express his desire to purchase the piece of land which Austria was selling.
During their meeting, Asuncion introduced the Japanese to Austria as a businessman who was looking for a supplier of tuna fish enzyme and was willing to invest money for business. Austria then remembered a man he met several weeks ago named Vince who then claimed to be a fish enzyme exporter. At that point, Austria had thought of becoming the middleman between the two.
Apparently, Austria was totally clueless that Asuncion and Vince really knew each other and had carefully planned their moves.
Per Asuncion’s instructions, the former OFW had initially invested P1 million as payment for the shipment of 250 boxes of fish enzyme from Vince and an additional of 250 boxes. But when Vince said that another customer had reserved the shipment, Austria paid him an additional P3 million to make sure his orders will be prioritized and even went to the bank to deposit another P4.29 million thereafter.
The said amounts had been deposited to the bank account of a certain Winifredo Adriano per Asuncion’s direction.
“Ang ginawa ko, nagbayad ako ng three million na cash. Tapos, nagpunta ako ng bangko, nagpasunod ako ng P4.29 million. Tinawag ko na naman kay engineer, De Guia, sabi niya sir, i-finance mo muna, bibigyan kita ng financial percent, which is three percent, sabi niya. ‘Di, sabi ko, misis kunin mo na yung time deposit mo na three million.”
After the deposits had been made and he had lost track where all his money went, Austria had thought of reporting the incident to the police. Later on, they discovered that the boxes of the supposedly fish enzymes were full of flour.
When the news broke, Winifredo Adriano, the holder of the bank account where Austria had deposited his payments, appeared before the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) to clear his name.
Adriano who was a former seaman, claimed that he does not personally know Asuncion and had only known him through a common friend. He added that Asuncion convinced him to have access to his bank account and instructed him to use false story.
An entrapment operation was then conducted by the Quezon City Police District and the suspect had been arrested on Thursday evening. But then, Asuncion had denied their accusations.
“‘Di po totoo yun. ‘Di ko po kilala. Basta’t yun lang pong, nag-ano lang po kami ng sa bangko po. Hindi ko po kilala sila. Ako lang po at si Adriano ang kasama ko sa bangko.”
Leonardo Austria had lost his hard-earned money from being an OFW totalling P8.29 million.
Meanwhile, QCPD Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar reminded the public to be cautious in dealing with people who offer “fast” and “easy” money.
Asuncion is facing cases of extortion in Quezon in Quezon City and syndicated estafa in Bataan
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