Ohmybuhay reader Venice sent me a link to the article about the Birkin Bag Scam that was published in the Inquirer.
The perpetrator named Shiela saw an opportunity in turning the craze over branded bags and other luxury items into a P500,000,000 pyramid scam. She outsmarted rich people who were lured into making more money, as a result of their greed, they lost their money.
Many years ago, a lawyer/accountant and professor at the University fo the Philippines visited my office and told me he just came from a meeting regarding” investments in warehouses”. I became curious in what this was all about, not to invest, but only because our companies rent several warehouses for our body and paint and mechanical repairs. We are the tenants.
Atty. said they would earn some 14% a month!!!! I was totally astounded because as an entrepreneur, I knew that is just way too impossible. Sa kotse, super swerte na if we earn 1.5%- 3% because merong free 3 years LTO, free tint, free this and that, municipal tax, MERALCO, rent, salaries, government contributions, telephone, internet, bank charges, display charges, delivery charges, gasoline, etc. etc. etc. plus income tax. If it’s that easy to earn huge returns on our money, siguro lahat tayo eh mayaman na. Imagine 14 percent a month x 12 months = 168% return! If we put in P100,000 we get P14,000 a month profit or P168,000 a year.
I told Atty. na baka drugs yung negosyo nun. He argued with me ” An, no, I checked, it’s really legitimate. They build warehouses and rent those out, di ba malaki ang income sa rentals?”. Constructing warehouses to rent out is of course a legitimate business, but I strongly doubted the mechanics of their investments and the promise of a 168% return.
After a year, this friend of mine visited me again. He came from the same office which was in the same building as my office then, this time, in distraught. The “person” that lured them into investing their money has disappeared. She took off with his P14,000,000 which he’s been saving to build his dream house, and she also ran away with some P54,000,000 total from Atty’s friends. Atty. is depressed because he’s having some financial distress trying to pay his monthly condominium amortizations. Because of the indecent amount of potential monthly income, he bought several condo units in Eastwood. Ngayon, walang 14% income, wala syang pambayad. I knew it, sabi ko na nga ba!!!!
And what we would never know is how much more money from other people she had ran off. Poor guys.
No matter how smart and intelligent you are, pagka gusto kang lokohin, madadali ka talaga. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, educated people and I have seen some business savvy and very shrewed businessmen fell for this kind of scam. Why? Because despite the riches that they have, their eyes glowed when the lure of earning 14, 15, 20% a month flashed before their very eyes. SIMPLE GREED.
One scion of a rich Chinese clan, lost half-billion pesos, I repeat, he lost FIVE HUNDRED MILLION PESOS from a woman that was probably very charming, but was actually a devil beneath her pretty clothes. In the beginning, she befriended their whole clan, attending family gathering, giving expensive gifts and pretending to be really sincere and trustworthy. She obviously knew what she was doing. It was a three-year project. At first, this greedy guy lent her small amounts, then when he received the monthly interests of 20% (super mega grabe!) , the more he became aggressive and greedier. he put in more money P3 MILLION, then P10 Million, P20 Million, P50 Million (whoooooo) and more money, to the point that he squandered his inheritance, borrowed money from his equally rich uncles and giving them 5% interest a month, borrowed from the bank on the guise of using the funds to expand his already very stable and successful business. Yun pala he would just give the money to this girl. It seemed like a perfect scenario. Borrowing form the bank with 10% a year interest, and investing this money for a 240% a year return. Perfect, right?
When he finally came into his senses, because no more 20 % interests were being given to him every month, she became scarce. Her post dated checks bounced one after the other. He could not even get near her to collect. From living in an apartment or townhouse somewhere in Quezon City, she now owns several apartment blocks, houses in top subdivisions and travels in a black SUV with several back up cars with armed body guards. She even threatened to kill him and his family if he doesn’t stop running after her.
He could not even tell his family, relatives and most of all his bankers must not know or else they would declare his debts due and demandable, then their families’ business empire would collapse. He could not even go to the courts.
He was so depressed for many years and at one point, he seriously entertained the thought of committing suicide.
This guy is wealthy. He inherited a lot and his father left him a business that’s already established. He was very smart and business savvy. He was able to expand the business he inherited. But his shrewdness and dream of becoming a billionaire fueled by his immense GREED became his enemy.
Time and again, some grandiose scam surfaces, no matter how much we remind the affluent public to be wary and NOT fall for easy money schemes, lagi pa ring maraming naloloko. All because of greed.
There are also scams victimizing poor people. Kaya mag-ingat tayo lahat. There are a lot of BAD PEOPLE around us, and nice looking people WITH BAD INTENTIONS, LET’S ALL BE CAREFUL.