Recent Major Cryptocurrency-Related Scams in the Philippines

Learn about the recent cryptocurrency scams targeting investors in the Philippines.

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  • Cryptocurrency scams are proliferating in the Philippines, causing financial harm to investors, especially those new to the technology.
  • Recent cases include the arrest of “crypto king” Vance Joshua Tamayo for a ₱100 million scam, charged against Cronus Holdings Corporation which allegedly scammed ₱8 million, and the double whammy tactic of 3 foreigners and 2 Filipinos in Makati.
  • The SEC issued warnings against Crypto Hub Finance, Big Dreams International (BDI) and BDI Product Trading OPC.

With the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in the Philippines, scammers are adeptly targeting individuals, particularly those new to the technology, resulting in financial losses for numerous investors.

In this article, BitPinas compiles recent scams that have exploited the cryptocurrency’s popularity to victimize investors.

Crypto King

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Self-proclaimed “crypto king” Vance Joshua Tamayo, 23, is one of the recent names that logged into the records of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) after he enticed victims with promises of significant returns on cryptocurrency investments, but he eventually cut off communication, leaving investors with losses. 

At least ten victims have reported losses exceeding ₱100 million, with ongoing investigations looking into potential police officer victims. 

On September 13, 2023, he was arrested along with his alleged secretary in Parañaque City, following a complaint from a Makati City businesswoman. Tamayo and his companion are in custody while facing large-scale estafa charges.

Cronus Holdings Corporation

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The Cronus Holding Corporation had been flaunting their wealth on social media, including their collection of sports cars, while also posting about their “wins” from leverage trading. However, despite reportedly being a registered firm, the group does not have the authorization to solicit investments from the public.

On the start of October, Celebrity couple Mikee Quintos and Paul Salas, along with seven other victims, filed an estafa complaint against the cryptocurrency group. The complaint was submitted at the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office, alleging 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.

The victims claimed they were promised significant returns on their investments but were eventually defrauded. The accused are in their early twenties, and while the victims are open to negotiating a settlement, the charges involve syndicated estafa, a non-bailable offense with potential life imprisonment consequences. 

BitPinas discovered that accusations against Cronus had been circulating as early as June in a Facebook post.

Crypto Hub Finance 

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Crypto Hub Finance claims to be the platform where cryptocurrency expertise and financial freedom meet. It also says that with the platform and its $HUB token, “we believe that we have the solutions in place that are fundamentally embedded in the concepts of transparency and sustainability.”

However, in June, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned the public against investing in Crypto Hub Finance, which it has declared an unregistered and unlicensed entity with characteristics of a Ponzi scheme. According to the Commission, Crypto Hub Finance offers investment plans with daily returns and promises of up to 2% for 75 days, along with affiliate bonuses.

The platform had previously faced scrutiny from the web3 community due to issues with its code and ownership of the smart contract.

Big Dreams International (BDI) / BDI Product Trading OPC

Cryptocurrency-related scams, along with other pyramid and Ponzi schemes, often entice victims with the promise of quick earnings. In the case of Big Dreams International (BDI) and BDI Product Trading OPC, victims were lured with the assurance of a 20% profit from their cryptocurrency trading investments. 

Last May, Anthony Olamit Bersaluna and his company secretary Mary Sweet Elipano were arrested in an entrapment operation in Pasay City for their alleged involvement in a cryptocurrency-based investment scam. 

According to the report, initially, the promised returns were met. However, as more individuals became involved, the scheme became unsustainable, leading to 30 initial victims filing complaints.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had previously issued an advisory against Big Dreams International and BDI Product Trading OPC. Both entities were not registered for investment solicitation. Bersaluna had also faced a previous estafa charge in 2017.

Double Whammy

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As if a single fraud is not enough, fraudsters are now also subjecting previous victims of crypto investment schemes to a second round of scams, inflicting a double blow on these individuals.

Last May, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) arrested five individuals, including three foreigners in Pasig City, for allegedly operating a cryptocurrency scam. 

The group’s scheme involved targeting victims who had previously lost cryptocurrency and enticing them to work together to recover the lost funds, only to steal from them again. They used remote access apps to gain control of victims’ computers and instructed them to deposit cryptocurrency into a wallet, which the scammers then accessed and transferred to their own accounts. 

The operation resulted in the arrest of the Filipinos and foreign nationals, who now face charges related to computer-related fraud and maintaining the illegal establishment. A significant amount of electronic equipment and evidence was seized during the raid.

This article is published on BitPinas: Recent Major Cryptocurrency-Related Scams in the Philippines

Disclaimer:

  • Before investing in any cryptocurrency, it is essential that you carry out your own due diligence and seek appropriate professional advice about your specific position before making any financial decisions.
  • BitPinas provides content for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. Your actions are solely your own responsibility. This website is not responsible for any losses you may incur, nor will it claim attribution for your gains.

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