SEC warns public against investing in Pluggle
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned the public against investing in Pluggle Incorporated, an online advertising website that is not authorized to solicit investments.
The SEC said in an advisory on Thursday, October 12, that while Pluggle is registered with the commission, it is not authorized to solicit investments from the public because it has not yet secured the necessary license or permit.
The corporate regulator said brokers, dealers, and salesmen of Pluggle who entice people to put money into their scheme will be prosecuted and could face the maximum fine of P5 million or 21 years of imprisonment, under Section 28 of the Securities Regulation Code.
The SEC said those who invite other people to join or invest in this venture or offer investment contracts or securities to the public may also be held criminally liable. (READ: DW Capital faces SEC probe for P2.6B in 'unauthorized' trades)
Based on the information obtained by the SEC, Pluggle is requiring members to sign up on its website through a sponsored link and to purchase an activation code with P1,000 through their accounts using bitcoins or through other legitimate members.
The SEC said Pluggle promises a return of 30% to 100% in 12 days for members' minimum investment.
"In view thereof, the public is hereby advised to exercise caution before investing in these kinds of activities and to take necessary precaution in dealing with Pluggle Incorporated, or its representatives," the regulator said.
The SEC earlier warned the public against investing their hard-earned money in unregistered investment schemes operating through social media websites.
In the past few years, there has been a proliferation of investment scams, particularly pyramid and Ponzi schemes, by taking advantage of the popularity and convenience of social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Under a Ponzi scheme, recruiters or solicitors promise extremely high returns within a short period of time without the need for an investor to do anything.
Pluggle: We are misunderstood
In reaction to the SEC's warning, the management behind Pluggle posted a statement addressed to its "affiliates."
"As you all know, we are not and never will be an investment company. The concept of Pluggle is clear and known to all. But unfortunately, some people and sectors have misunderstood the way we do business, and maybe some members misrepresented Pluggle when talking to people," Pluggle said on its website.
Pluggle's management added that their lawyer would respond to the SEC soon, to assure affiliates that the company is "committed to a long-term business for everyone and we are also committed to abide and comply with all existing laws."
Data from whois.domaintools.com showed Pluggle's domain was registered on April 6 this year, and is set to expire on April 6, 2018 – unless renewed.
Pluggle.com.ph is registered under a certain Alexis Palma, with a publicly-declared address at Arayat Mansion, P. Bernardo Street, Kaunlaran, Quezon City.
Domain registrant Palma is supposedly connected to Goonline PH Incorporated, as indicated on domaintools.com. – Rappler.com