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5 online swindlers arrested in Manila

 

By ERMA R. EDERA

 

FIVE men posing as Customs officials allegedly defrauding buyers of vehicles and gadgets online were arrested by police during an entrapment operation in Intramuros, Manila, Wednesday afternoon.

Police identified the suspects as Rombert de Guzman, 35, of Pulilan, Bulacan; Anton de la Cruz, 30, of Tondo, Manila; Ignacio Luna, 28, Caloocan City; Gilbert Victoria, 47; and Ronald Maglente, 42, also of Tondo.

Operatives of Ermita Police Station (PS-5) conducted an entrapment operation against the five suspects on complaints of Richard Sanchez, 34, a police officer, of Tondo; and Jerome Cabural, 34, businessman, of Malate, Manila.

Seized from the suspects were boodle money amounting to P850,000 and fake Customs identification cards.

Chief Supt. Igmedio Bernaldez of Ermita Police Station (PS-5) said Sanchez went to the station and reported that he transacted with online swindlers.

According to the victims, they were lured to deal with the suspects after seeing their e-commerce website selling cheap cars, motorcycles, and gadgets.

Sanchez told Bernaldez that he sent P50,000 to the suspects to reserve for him one unit of Toyota Rush. The suspects guaranteed to turn over to him the said vehicle after the completion of payment amounting to P900,000.

Sanchez added that he also inquired with the Bureau of Customs about the suspects, but the agency said there were no employees selling the said items.

Another victim also reported similar incident after the same group did not release his Yamaha NMAX motorcycle after paying them the amount of P113,000.

Bernaldez said that the suspects had collected P300,000 from the complainants.

However, the suspects denied the allegations, claiming they were just collecting money for a certain “Michael”.

Two more suspects identified as Constantino Gona and Romelo Muring remain at-large.

Police said charges for violation of Article 315 (swindling/estafa), Article 177 (usurpation of authority) of the Revised Penal Code were filed against the suspects.

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