Law enforcers now searching for brains behind an alleged investment scam

Feb. 25, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Law enforcement agents are now trying to locate the person believed to be behind an alleged investment scam in Mindanao after a local court issued an arrest warrant against the firm’s founder.

Currently being searched by law enforcers is Mark Steven Freeman, said to be the founder of the Freedom Traders Club (FTC), who is facing large-scale swindling charges, a non-bailable offense.

Supt. Mardi Hortillosa, the city police spokesperson, said Monday both the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are now looking for Freeman.

“Police officers who were serving the warrant of arrest for Freeman could not locate him when they went to his last known address,” Hortillosa said.

After the 10-day period has lapsed and law enforcers still have not found Freeman, Hortillosa said the police will then ask the court to issue an alias warrant so officers can arrest the suspect any time.

Hortillosa said they have already coordinated with other police and NBI offices in areas where Freeman has a residence in.

If the police found out that Freeman has gone abroad, Hortillosa said they will seek the help of the Interpol and the law enforcement agencies of countries where he might be hiding.

As founder of the FTC, Freeman was involved in the investment of “ploutos coin,” a kind of cryptocurrency or digital currency similar to bitcoin, and promised his potential investors huge returns.

After FTC was launched at a mall here on July 8, 2018, a few days later the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) posted on its website telling the public that the entity is not registered with their office.

SEC has categorized FTC as a “forex” (foreign exchange) trading club using the ploutos coin as its “investment vehicle.”

“It is publicly announced that the price of [ploutos coins] will ‘skyrocket’ after six months,” SEC said, referring to the promise of FTC to its potential investors.

In an interview on Monday, Hortillosa was able to confirm that some of the FTC investors were retired and active police officers, although he did not mention any names.

During a committee hearing at the city council on Aug. 3, 2018, Freeman has denied he was involved in an investment scam as he has at the time a Certification of Registration for the Ploutos Innovation Corp. to prove his business is legal.

But in an interview SEC-10 regional director, Renato Egypto said the document Freeman showed was not enough as FTC needs to have a secondary license to engage in investment activities.

As of this writing, it was not immediately known how much FTC’s investors had our poured into Freeman’s company. (

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