SEC intensifies crackdown vs investment scams

Ralf Rivas
SEC intensifies crackdown vs investment scams
The Securities and Exchange Commission taps law enforcement agencies to carry out 24 raids in two days against companies involved in investment scams

MANILA, Philippines – In just two days, government agencies carried out a total of 24 raids against 6 companies involved in investment scams.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), along with the National Bureau of Investiagtion and Philippine National Police, swooped down on the offices of Rigen Marketing and Ever Arm Any Marketing, both in Tagum City, and Ada Farm Agri Ventures in Mandaue City, Cebu, on Tuesday, June 11.

Authorities also searched the offices of Organico Agribusiness Ventures in Cebu City, Bohol, Tacloban City, Davao City, and Butuan City, as well as Alabel-Maasim Small Scale Mining Cooperative/Alabel-Maasim Credit Cooperative in Alabel, General Santos City, and Koronadal City on Monday, June 10.

Similar operations were carried out at the offices of Kapa-Community Ministry International in Alabel, General Santos City, Tagum City, Quezon City, Taytay, Nueva Vizcaya, Tacloban City, Cebu City, Bukidnon, and Misamis Oriental, and at the house of Kapa founder Joel Apolinario in General Santos City.

The SEC said raiding teams were able to seize voluminous documents and paraphernalia used by scammers in enticing people to invest with them.

The raiding teams were also able to seize cash, but the SEC did not specify the amount. (READ: Duterte orders shutdown of Kapa-Community Ministry, other investment scams)

The SEC said the companies were involved in the sale and offering of securities in the form of investment contracts, which required a secondary license and employed a Ponzi scheme or an investment program which promised impossibly high returns.

The companies have been barred from transacting any business involving the funds in their depositary banks and from transferring, disposing, or conveying all assets and properties under their custody.

“Soliciting investments from the public without the necessary license and through fraudulent means is a crime and punishable under the law,” SEC Chairperson Emilio Aquino said.

Background of the companies

Kapa-Community Ministry International – It encourages members to give a minimum “donation” of P10,000 in exchange for a 30% monthly return dubbed a “blessing” or “gift of love” for life, without having to do anything other than invest and wait for the payout. (READ: EXPLAINER: How Kapa Ministry took advantage of investors)

Rigen Marketing  Rigen describes itself as a startup in Tagum City. It entices the public to invest with a promise of a guaranteed 400% return in just a month or so. Rigen has expanded its operations to Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, Davao del Sur, General Santos City, and other neighboring cities and municipalities.

Organico Agribusiness Ventures – It operates as a local agricultural-based crowdfunding company. The company entices the public to invest in piglets for P3,600 each. Each investor is promised a payback of P7,000 in just 3 months. The corporation also encourages investors to refer new members in exchange for a bonus of P140 for each referral.

Ada Farm Agri Ventures – Ada Farm is not registered either as a corporation or partnership. Information gathered by the SEC showed that it entices the public to invest by purchasing a minimum of 10 chicks worth P500 with a guaranteed profit of 80% in 60 days.

Ever Arm Any Marketing – The company promises a 500% return on investment, based on the principal amount invested in less than a month.

Alabel-Maasim Credit Cooperative – It is not registered either as a corporation or partnership. It recruits members through an investment opportunity and promises 35% interest per month.

– Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.