Sunday January 27, 2013
Alleged mastermind of Philippine scam nabbed
By MUGUNTAN VANAR
KOTA KINABALU: The long arm of the law has finally caught up with the alleged mastermind of a Philippine investment scam who fled to Sabah after cheating 15,000 Filipinos of nearly 12bil pesos (RM895mil) last November.
Malaysian police nabbed the man in Ranau on Thursday, but it was for possession of suspected fake Malaysian identity documents.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said the suspect, in his 40s, was arrested for “identity issues'' which had nothing to do with the investment scam in the Philippines.
He said that there had been no official request by the Manila police to Bukit Aman to arrest the man for the scam so far.
Malaysia does not have an extradition treaty with the Philippines but if his Malaysian identity is suspect, he could be deported to the country.
In November last year, the Philippines police launched the hunt for Mohammad Suffian Syed, supposedly a Malaysian from Sabah who is also known in the Philippines as Manuel Karingal Amalillo.
The man, who allegedly told Filipino investors that he was related to top Sabah politicians, operated his pyramid investment scheme under a company called Aman Future Group Philippines Inc, promising returns of up to 67%.
The victims had used their savings, mortgaged homes and borrowed to invest in the scheme.
Many Filipinos had also been coming to Sabah to search for the man who portrayed himself as a religious person.
According to sources, during the initial six months, he had paid returns of between 30% and 50% to gain public confidence.
According to a lawyer of the victims who was in Sabah last month, the man used a private jet and a helicopter when he travelled in the Philippines.
Among those cheated were said to be local officials, government employees, and police and military officers.