SEC warns of Ponzi scheme offering 40% returns
MANILA, Philippines - The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning the public of a P244-million double-your-money scam by Pasay-based Aman Futures Group Phils. Inc. which allegedly lured investors with up to 40% returns in just 20 or 30 days.
In its October 8 cease-and-desist order, the SEC said its 5-man commission prohibited Aman Futures and its officials from further soliciting investments from the public after allegedly collecting around P244 million from clients in Pagadian City and other parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
“Unless restrained…[Aman Futures would] operate as a fraud on investors or is otherwise likely to cause grade or irreparable injury or prejudice to the investing public,” SEC chair Teresita Herbosa told reporters, adding that the SEC will then "find basis for a criminal complaint."
The order was the result of a probe by the corporate regulator's Enforcement Prosecution Department, which found that Aman Futures sold investment contracts -- commodity futures contacts, in particular -- without an SEC license. Under the Securities Regulation Code, no securities can be sold to the public without prior approval of the SEC.
The SEC said Aman Futures reportedly funneled its client's money to the firm’s dollar account with brokerage Okachi (Malaysia) Sd. Bhd., which engages in futures trading of commodities such as oil, manganese, palm oil and nickel.
They said Aman Futures accepted investments or money placements via checks or bank transfers and at the end of a 20- to 30-day period, the firm would return the principal plus profits ranging from 15% to 40%.
The probe was triggered by several complaints from the public and other government agencies, citing Aman Futures' promise to invest the clients' funds in commodities abroad, specifically in Malaysia.
When summoned, officials of Aman Futures told the SEC hearing that the firm’s chairman and chief executive officer Manuel K.Amalilio was a veteran trader in commodities in Malaysia and Japan.
"The transactions were done in good faith without knowing fully well that there is a need for a special permit or secondary license to engage in such," Aman Futures argued, according to SEC.
“To forestall grave damage and prejudice to all concerned and ensure preservation of assets for the benefit of investors, Aman Futures and any of its representatives are enjoined from transacting any business involving the funds in its depository banks and from transferring or conveying in any other manner all assets, properties of which the they have any interest, until further orders from this Commission,” the SEC said in its order. - Rappler.com