A QUEZON City court has convicted four people out of 20 involved in an investment scam in 2002. In a 47-page decision released by the Department of Justice, Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 220 convicted Emilia S. Sison, Ireneo C. Sison, Jr., Mirasol H. Aguilar, and Marilou G. Cabalo for 23 counts of estafa and are sentenced to four years and two months to 16 years in prison. The RTC also found Ms. Sison guilty of violating Republic Act No. 8799, the Securities Regulation Code, and is sentenced separately with 10 years imprisonment and a P2 million fine. The accused were initially charged of syndicated estafa, which is punishable by life imprisonment to death. However, with the death of ICS Exports, Inc. incorporator Mimosa Zamudio during the trial, it was downgraded to a simple estafa case. The group lured investors with an offer of interest rate ranging from 8% to 15%. “Evidence shows that the strategy employed by herein accused to induce the public in investing their money to ICS, Inc. is by making a promise of huge monthly interest. In fact, for a few months, ICS Inc., had kept up with said promise by paying interest to satisfied investors and, as expected, enticed more people to invest,” the decision read. “Accused had even made their supposed investors believe that ICS, Inc. is a legitimate company involved in a legitimate business,” it added. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas