The lawyer of celebrity couple Claudine Barretto and Raymart Santiago appeared before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) yesterday, July 12, to confirm the news that her clients did invest on the controversial FrancSwiss Investment.
Representing the celebrity couple, Ellen Veza, defended her clients by saying that they're only victims and was lured to put money without any knowledge that they were actually falling into to a "pyramiding scam."
A pyramiding scam is defined as an illegal money transaction in which people, or investors, are convinced to pay money for a chance to profit from the payments of others who might join later. The common problem with the scheme is that once the new recruits fail to sustain the hierarchical payment structure; the scheme collapses with most investors losing their money.
Claudine and Raymart's names surfaced as investors when the NBI started investigating the case, which automatically includes checking the records of FrancSwiss.
According to initial reports submitted by the investigators, FrancSwiss has already swindled almost P1 billion from a handful of individuals residing here in the Philippines. Findings also revealed that the organization is not recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as it is not registered and has no permit from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
GMA News revealed that Claudine Barretto talked with NBI Regional Director Ruel Lasala by phone. The actress politely begged off from personally appearing at the NBI because of her pregnancy.
The lawyer of Claudine and Raymart refused to disclose the exact amount shelled out by the couple as investment to FrancSwiss. Atty. Veza did not mention if the couple had recruited other investors.
Atty. Veza revealed, however, that Claudine and Raymart are now contemplating of filing charges against FrancSwiss financial adviser, Eli Castillo, who was apprehended by the authorities in Baguio City last July 4.