With additional reporting from BitPinas staff.
- Celebrity couple Mikee Quintos and Paul Salas, along with seven other victims, have filed an estafa complaint against a cryptocurrency group, accusing four individuals of violating the law.
- The complaint was submitted on October 2, 2023, at the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office. The victims alleged that they were scammed out of ₱8 million.
- The alleged scammers have been identified as John David del Castillo Ortiz, Margarita Ortiz-Tan, Ralph Francisco Torres Delfin Hernandez Villaruel Jr., and Julian Vincent Ortanez Parado, according to a news report from GMA News.
Celebrity couple Mikee Quintos and Paul Salas along with seven other victims, have filed an estafa complaint against a cryptocurrency group where they accused four individuals of violating Presidential Decree No. 1689, in connection with Articles 315 and 316 of the Revised Penal Code.
Complaint vs. Crypto group
The celebrity couple submitted the charges on October 2, 2023, at the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office, as reported by GMA News reporter Jonathan Andal. Quintos, Salas and the other victims were allegedly scammed out of ₱8 million.
According to the report, Quintos had previously invested in the group and received interest on her investment after one year. In May 2023, they were again persuaded to invest in the group’s cryptocurrency, which promised to double their money in just two weeks. She subsequently reinvested.
Salas then affirmed that after their second investment, weeks and months had passed, and the group had absconded with their money.
Quintos stated that the initial contact with the scammers was made by her prospective brother-in-law. She noted that the group’s scheme may involve gaining the investors’ trust and then running off with the money.
What is Cronus Holdings Corporation
In an X post by Andal, he revealed the identities of the alleged fraudsters as John David del Castillo Ortiz, Margarita Ortiz-Tan, Ralph Francisco Torres Delfin Hernandez Villaruel Jr. and Julian Vincent Ortanez Parado. The four reported to be a part of Cronus Holdings Corporation.
Cronus Holdings Corporation Posts on Facebook
In a Facebook post found by BitPinas, accusations regarding Cronus have been surfacing as early as June.
According to the FB post, the group had been flaunting their wealth, including amassed sports cars, all while posting “wins” from leverage trading.
The report from GMA news revealed that while Cronus is a registered corporation, it does not have the authority to solicit investments from the public.
Quintos’ lawyer, Atty. Lance Tan, mentioned that the accused are in their early twenties. Their legal team conveyed empathy for the alleged scammers, considering that the charges involve syndicated estafa, a non-bailable offense that carries a potential life imprisonment sentence.
In this regard, Tan stated that they are open to negotiating a settlement with the respondents. However, he also said that they would write to the universities or schools of the respondents to inform them of the incident.
Crypto Schemes in PH
Last month, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) revealed that it confiscated SIM cards linked to money and cryptocurrency scams totaling around P1 billion.
In May, Senator Risa Hontiveros warned that the Philippines also now have hubs for cryptocurrency scams, with traffickers employing foreigners to carry out the schemes. Prior to this, she revealed that Filipinos are being duped to become OFW crypto scammers abroad.
In 2022, the Surf Shark Society Fiasco occurred, in which a certain Randy Santiago attempted to rugpull his investors. However, two days after the issue, the team began the process of refunding all individuals who still owned Surf Shark non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Also last year, around 1,000 people invested their life savings in a cryptocurrency investment scheme through a mobile application that shut down last November. The victims, who were enticed by the promise of high returns, have lost all of their investment.
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This article is published on BitPinas: Celebrities File Estafa vs. Students In PHP 8 Million Crypto Scam
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