CABANATUAN City -- A local court in Nueva Ecija issued a warrant of arrest with no bail recommended against five suspected bitcoin scammers, including spouses Arnel and Leonady Ordonio, the alleged masterminds who defrauded more than 50 people of over P900 million in an investment scheme using the crypto-currency bitcoin.
One of the suspects, the alleged middleman identified as PO1 Jerwin Bernardino, of Bgy. Mapalad, Sta. Rosa, was arrested while on duty at the Bongabon police station last Monday, the police said.
Bernardino was arrested by members of the Palayan City police led by Supt. Armando Muena based on a warrant without bail issued by Palayan City Regional Trial Court Branch 40 Judge Evelyn A. Atienza-Turla on October 8.
Aside from Bernardino, others named in the arrest warrant for estafa were the Ordonio couple, Angelo Ordonio and Jowell Aujero, all of Bgy. Patalac, this city.
Muena said a massive manhunt for the other suspects has been launched amid reports the Ordonio couple has already fled of the country.
The issuance of the arrest warrant came after the Palayan City prosecutor's office led by officer-in-charge Aristotle T. Poblete found probable cause to indict the five suspects.
Records showed a complaint against the five suspects was submitted to the Palayan City prosecutor's office after an investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation- Cabanatuan District Office under Pedro C. Roque Jr.
The Ordonio couple was nabbed last April in Vigan, Ilocos Sur by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
However, the two posted bail after the Department of Justice earlier slapped them with the lesser and bailable offense of estafa, instead of the original case and higher crime of syndicated estafa filed by the CIDG.
The Ordonios allegedly duped their victims by soliciting money with a promise of huge paybacks using their company called NewG as a front for the investment scam.