An American who claimed to be a former Chicago Bulls forward has been arrested in Davao City for allegedly running a pyramid scam.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced today (Thursday, January 31) that James Edward Booyer III had also failed to extend his visa since arriving in the country in August 2016.
According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, the arrest of the 36-year-old followed complaints from Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, “whose office has received numerous complaints from victims of the syndicate that defrauded them of large sums of money”.
“We also received a report from the anti-scam unit under Mayor Duterte’s office regarding the results of its investigation into the nefarious activities of this American and his cohorts in the syndicate.
“He will be deported after he is convicted and has served his sentence,” the commissioner added.
Booyer was arrested at his residence at the Fairlanes Subdivision of Davao’s Damosa District last Thursday (January 24).
Commissioner Morente said the city government is planning file charges against other members of the alleged syndicate.
According to the BI, Booyer and his accomplices founded a number of non-government organisations “which they have used as fronts in their swindling activities”.
The group also accused of targeting indigenous ‘Lumad’ communities in rural Mindanao, who were promised that their lands would be explored for mineral deposits if they paid fees to the syndicate upfront.
In January 2017, the SunStar described Booyer as a “former Chicago Bulls power forward” in a report on a basketball training event in Davao. The report said he “personally spearheaded the seminar lecture and training of the Muscle Power Agility and Conditioning Basketball Elite Training Academy”.
However, no other online record supports the claim that he ever played for the team, and it is not referenced on his Linkedin page.
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