In business or investment, only put your trust in the Lord our God. Never trust anyone including your own family, relative, best friend or even your judgment right away. But it does not mean you should ignore all the opportunities ahead and we will tell you why.
How do we know this? Because Lollipop Money has been there before and we want to share our experience so you can avoid it. If you believe in the quote "Experience is the best teacher" Let our mistake be your teacher
There are many syndicate groups that are professionally built to scam. We have two stories to share for you. If you are nerdy enough to read the details, good! If not, feel free to skip and just read our conclusion and lessons down below.
Based on our real experience:
The syndicate will invest in a real "business" and that will be the props in the play. They will rent a junket in the casino, bring in real clients - mostly foreign players to play in their junket. With a real feasible business in hand, the junket operators will do its best to convince people to invest with them. They will market themselves as a profitable junket operator, they will invite people to their junket and let them view the actual operation, entice people with high interest around 10% to 30% a month and they will meet as many possible investors as they can every day.
photo is courtesy of https://www.casinota.com/junkets-faq.html
These scammers will offer you a real contract. A notarized contract with post-dated checks to make the investors feel secure and to gain their trust. After all, if you have a notarized contract and post-dated checks as your documents you are secured and protected by our law, right? WRONG! You can have all the documents you want, but sad to say our investigation and justice system here in the Philippines is not strong. When the time is right for the syndicates to go, they will vanish. Just like that. Easy. But you might say, Hey! I have all these documents and I will get a lawyer to get him. Again, the process of this is excruciatingly slow and even if you are lucky enough to catch the guy, in our justice system he is just a suspect - he is not yet guilty. So you need to go under court trial. How long does the court trial last? The fastest is 6 months to a year, but on average it is 2 years to 10 years. And now let's say, you already invested a 6 or 7 figure amount to the scammer, do you know how much will the lawyer cost in this process? another 6 figure! Do you still have "gas" left in your wallet? And aside from that, even if the scammer received a subpoena from the judge, he will just use delaying tactics, he will not show up and he will spend the money that he took from the investors to protect himself and in some cases bribe the judge so that you will lose the case. Another option for him - he can just bail-out if he losses the case - free again! But most of the time, it will not go there, he will spend most of his time hiding outside the country or in a local "safe house".
If your lawyer is really good, he can turn the case into a syndicated Estafa and the scammer will be in prison for a non-bailable offense. The question is, Will you get your money back if he is in prison now? 75% of the time, NO. The syndicate will prefer to hide and preserve the money rather than returning it - you just lost again another 6 figure amount of money in your pocket from your lawyer's fee. Do not forget that you are also consuming your time, the stress, and depression on the process. But at least, justice was served.
SHORT STORY - Inspired by true events.
Ed is a 29-year-old, start-up entrepreneur that is into cosmetic retailing, he is a kind, honest and hard-working person. One day on a business gathering, Ed met a guy named Mark - they had a chance to exchange information and Ed discovered that Mark is a rich-businessman and they are almost just the same age. Mark looks very friendly and nice to everyone that is why it is easy for Ed to get along with Mark.
One afternoon Mark asked something to Ed, Mark said to Ed, "Ed would you like to see my business in the province next week? I want to show you my logistics business, I have contracts in big mining companies and I have a fleet of dump trucks and I lease it to them. Don't worry about the travel expenses Ed, I got you all covered you can also bring your family to join us if you like." Ed saw an opportunity so he did not hesitate to join.
When they arrived, they were picked up at the airport by a brand new Mercedes Benz GLS SUV and stayed in a 5-star hotel. The next day, Mark shows his office and his dump trucks to Ed and his family, they also went to the mining site to see how's the business is going. Mark told Ed, "I made all of this by hard work, and by the support of my father and mother, they handed this to me as a small business before, and now I am building my empire out of it. Do you want to buy at least 1 dump truck and lease it to a mining company as I do?" Mark gave a business proposal to Ed and he saw that he can make a lot of money in it. Mark said "If you invest P500,000 I can provide you a 2nd hand dumb truck and every month you can earn P80,000"
Ed did not think twice, he realized that if he rides on the success of Mark, he will get a return of investment in just 7 months and in 1 year it will almost double his investment. Ed and Mark became buddies and best friends and their relationship as business partners grew overtime.
Ed continues to add more investment to Mark plus he also reinvests his earnings to the company, Ed made so much money from it more than he could imagine. Then Mark asked him "Ed, why don't you make your own company now? You are now making a lot of money, you are now constructing your dream house and you just bought your dream car. Why don't you look for investors and put it in our company and I will give you additional commissions from it"
Ed did it - he did not have a hard time looking for investors because he was the living proof of the successful business they operate, on top of that, Ed had a very good reputation to the people even before Mark came to the picture since he is already in the business and known as a trustworthy fellow. When Ed built his company, investors (mostly relatives) invested in him quickly.
Ed continues to make money more than ever, at the same time, his investors are all very happy because they are hitting ROI (Return of Investments). Some of the close relatives of Ed have never met Mark before so they requested to see him and personally thank him, Mark agreed to meet them, as a matter of fact, Mark invited these close relatives of Ed to come in his wedding day and serve as his Ninongs and Ninangs (godfather and mother) and Mark made a very good relationship with them. There were also times that Mark would invite all the investors into a big gathering in a 5-star hotel or a buffet restaurant as a thanksgiving to them for free. Mark would also invite some of the closest investors of Ed to show off his house and luxury vehicles, there are around 15 different vehicles in the garage, He has a Ferrari, BMW, Lexus, Audi, Rover, Hummer, etc and occasionally, Mark would allow Ed's relatives to borrow it.
As trust continues to grow, more and more investments are piling up for Ed, and as a loyal business partner, he keeps sending all the investments to Mark - and the unfortunate thing happened. Mark runs away with all the money and never to be found again. The total amount amass by Mark is P200 Million.
The investors did its best to look for Mark but he is nowhere to be found, some investors blame Ed but Ed claims Mark took all the money. Most of the investors of Ed are relatives of him so all they can do is to support Ed the best way they can. Unfortunately for the investors, they cannot file a case against Mark because all of the contracts they have are between them and Ed. If there is someone to blame by the investors its Ed, not Mark. Investors and Ed joined forces to find Mark but even with all the connections, Mark is nowhere to be found to this day and all his office address are closed and later they realized there were only really few dump trucks owned by Mark and it was also all gone.
Mark is suspected that he is still operating his scam tactics all over the Philippines changing from one location to another (http://www.boholchronicle.com.ph/2016/12/18/big-time-con-artist-swindles-p13m-from-boholanos/.) It is also suspected that Mark is protected by a big syndicate behind him. His cars were probably owned by the syndicate group and lent it over to him as props. The investors also found out that Mark was only renting the fancy house he had in a high-end village. The investors never got their money back.
Bonus tips courtesy of Security Bank - Click Here
Scammers will use all kinds of tricks to hide their identity. They can disguise as a construction firm, property developer, a small sari-sari store, an engineer, a doctor, garbage collector, you name it they have it.