Thursday Nov, 30 2023 03:21:48 AM

Investors vent ire on Kidapawan pyramid money market operator

Local News • 15:15 PM Tue Aug 8, 2023
John Felix Unson
The now closed Bodega ni Carina outlet in Kidapawan City. (From Mark Anthony Tayco)

KIDAPAWAN CITY - Investors in a money market outfit here trading consumer goods as cover ransacked its stores after learning its operator had run away and could no longer release incentives to them due to huge budget deficits.

The now controversial Bodega ni Carina, owned by Carina A. Caren, at large since late July, first operated in this city three years ago, and, subsequently, opened branches in nearby towns that all shutdown last week.

A check at the Cotabato provincial office here of the Department of Trade-12 showed Caren do not even have a permit for the merchandising business that she had used to lure barrio people to invest into the Bodega ni Carina “money market,” with a promise of 30 to 50 percent earnings monthly, both cash and merchandise like home products and other commercial goods.

The Bodega ni Carina, at first, paid out cash and consumer goods to investors, according to sources from the Kidapawan City local government unit, the Police Regional Office-12 and reporters of different radio stations here.

Ferdinand Caspe Cabiles, DTI-12’s provincial director for Cotabato province, said their office has a final case ruling against Caren’s Bodega ni Carina for selling substandard commercial goods, in violation of state trading laws.

“That was a decided case,” Cabiles said.

Some investors the Bodega ni Carina had duped started getting apprehensive and thought she would run away when they learned from social media last month that she was selling her mansion in Barangay New Bohol in this city.

Sources from the local police and DTI-12’s regional office in Koronadal City said it is a known ploy by operators of Ponzi-style pyramid investment schemes to show to the public their big houses and luxury vehicles to project financial stability.

To get even, investors ransacked and took the goods for sale in the Bodega ni Carina showrooms here and in nearby North Cotabato towns over the weekend.

Caren on Monday managed to talk to officials of the Kidapawan City Police Office via online Messenger where she reportedly denied having fled and assured that her investment outfit is not bankrupt as the public had perceived.

She declined to reveal to the police her exact location, however.

Barangay tanods and police personnel are now cooperating in securing the abandoned, now empty Bodega ni Carina outlets from possibly being destroyed by irate victims of its pyramid money market scheme.

Local officials in Kidapawan City told reporters Tuesday their mayor, the lawyer Jose Paulo Miguel Evangelista, no less, had warned constituents against entrusting their money into the Bodega ni Carina. 

“That was virtually an illegal Ponzi scheme pyramid investment scam,” Cabiles, who, as DTI-12’s provincial director for North Cotabato, had also campaigned early on against the Bodega ni Carina.

The Ponzi scheme is a money investment fraud named after the 18th century Italian businessman Charles Ponzi, who made investors he had fooled believe that profits of their investments were coming from legitimate businesses that he ran, but were actually from money of new clients entrusted to him.

Ponzi made his clients believe about them owning virtually non-existent assets in return for their investments.


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