DoLE flags investment scam targeting OFWs

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OWWA officers
Worker welfare officers assist OFW arriving at the airport terminal -- PHILIPPINE STAR/JOVEN CAGANDE

THE labor department has warned Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) against participating in investment schemes offered by entities without Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said in a statement on Thursday that it urged OFWs to be particularly wary of schemes offering higher returns than those offered by regulated institutions.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), which regulates overseas employment and recruitment, said a group of OFWs from Saudi Arabia “was recruited by Sangguniang Masang Pilipino International Inc. (SMPII), a Philippine-based non-profit organization, and encouraged them to make an investment with ALMASAI Finance and Investment (now ALMASAI Equity Holding Corp.).”

POEA added, “The OFWs said they were required to make an initial investment of P50,000.00 with guaranteed interest of 5% each month. ALMASAI allegedly issued 13 post-dated checks — 12 checks for the monthly earnings of the investment and the 13th check as repayment of capital investment.”

The OFWs later complained that they stopped receiving the promised returns and lost contact with ALMSAI owner Elpidio Reyes Tanaliga Jr.. The OFWs also added that checks issued for their monthly earnings were insufficiently funded.

“ALMASAI Finance and Investment is not a SEC-registered entity as a corporation or as a partnership and was not also issued a secondary license as a broker and/or dealer of securities, dealer in government securities, investment adviser… investment house and transfer agent. It has not filed nor has any pending application for primary and secondary licenses with the Commission,” SEC said.

The SEC added that ALMASAI Equity Holding Corp. was also found to be engaged in acts beyond its legal authority “for doing business not in accordance with its purpose of incorporation, which constitutes serious misrepresentation.” — Gillian M. Cortez