TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A group of Philippine migrant workers has been arrested for defrauding over 20 victims in Taiwan out of approximately NT$10 million (US$359,000).
During a press conference on Monday (May 11), the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) announced that a 35-year-old Filipino migrant worker identified as Eda and 19 other suspects from the Philippines had allegedly served as money mules as part of an internet fraud ring. The CIB stated that the suspects had been arrested in raids carried out in Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Keelung, and Miaoli on Jan. 18, March 22, and April 19.
Eda allegedly frequented Taipei Main Station, meeting both victims and recruiting mules for the fraud ring. The victims were duped into transferring funds as part of bogus investments, commercial loans, or international parcel clearance.
The mules are accused of assisting the transfers in exchange for 1 to 2 percent of each transaction. When the alleged money mules were arrested, many claimed that they did not know they were taking part in a fraud operation.
Eda recruited five Filipinos as bookkeepers and mules, and in turn they recruited 14 others. The largest amount lost by a single victim was NT$500,000 from a 45-year-old office worker who fell victim to an online romance scam allegedly perpetrated by the group.
After seizing account books, debit cards, and remittance slips, CIB officers found evidence that the ring is based in the Philippines and lures victims through online dating sites. After questioning them, the CIB transferred the suspects to the New Taipei District Prosecutor's Office to be investigated for fraud and money laundering.