THE lower court of Tagum City has found the officers of Tagum City-based Rigen Wellness Product Marketing (Rigen Marketing) guilty for their unauthorized investment-taking activities. The executives were also sentenced to life in prison for syndicated estafa.
The Tagum City Regional Trial Court-Branch 2 convicted Rigen Marketing CEO Rico John Colorines Garcia and its auditor King Paul Bryan for the crime of syndicated estafa in two criminal cases dated April 11 and May 2. The said case stemmed from earlier filings of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The two were sentenced to the penalty of life imprisonment in both cases, alongside payment of actual damages totaling P2.01 million and moral damages amounting to P120,000, plus an interest of 6 percent per year.
Their co-accused—Rosenda Colorines Garcia, Christine Palijo, Romen Samuel Wabina and Jemeilyn Tacay—remain at large.
The cases stemmed from the complaints of two individuals who were enticed to invest in Rigen Marketing, after the executives allegedly promised income returns of up to 400 percent within a span of 30 days.
Rigen Marketing executives claimed that profits were generated from investments in cryptocurrency and foreign exchange trading.
“It has been held that where one states that the future profits or income of an enterprise shall be a certain sum, but he actually knows there will be none, or that they will be less than he represents, the statements constitute an actionable fraud where the hearer believes him and relies on the statement to his injury,” the court said.
Citing the case of People v. Balasa, the court noted that Rigen Marketing employed fraud when its officers pretended to have the authority to solicit investments from the general public when it did not have such authority.
“[T]he promised high-yielding venture was unsustainable, as Rigen Marketing was not really engaged in any legitimate business,” the court said.
“The totality of the testimonies of the witnesses, documentary evidence on record, and findings of the SEC all point to both accused Garcia and [Auditor] as the perpetrators of a grand scheme to defraud investors of their investments in their company, Rigen Marketing,” the court said.
The SEC has warned the public against investing in Rigen Marketing as early as May 24, 2019, through an advisory posted on its website.
The agency issued a cease and desist order on June 11, 2019, directing the group to stop engaging in investment solicitation activities unless it secures the necessary licenses from the SEC.