SEC warns against more investment scams
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public against a new set of entities that are illegally soliciting investments, including those hawking alleged cryptocurrency trading and online selling opportunities.
In separate advisories issued on June 30, the SEC asked the public to exercise caution in dealing with entities called Forsage, RCashOnline and The Saint John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta Foundation of the Philippines Inc.
Forsage, which is headed by Lado Okhotnikov, is not duly registered with the SEC. It lacks the necessary license to solicit, accept or take investments from the public or issue investment contracts and other forms of securities.
RCashOnline, which claims to represent one Royale Business, is likewise not registered as a corporation or a partnership. It does not possess any secondary license to solicit investments from the public.
Meanwhile, the certificate of registration of Saint John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta Foundation has been revoked as early as February 3, 2003 for non-compliance with reportorial requirements.
A maximum fine of P5 million or imprisonment of 21 years or both await those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of entities engaged in unauthorized investment schemes, for violation of Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code Securities Regulation Code, among others.
Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, also punishes those participating in cyber incidents that make use or take advantage of the current crisis arising from the COVID-19 outbreak to prey on the public through scams, phishing, fraudulent emails, or other similar acts.
Forsage touts a crowdfunding international platform or a crypto earning program using the ethereum blockchain technology, promising long-term active and passive income to investors through a crowdfunding referral system.
Aside from lacking the necessary licenses, the SEC noted that Forsage’s compensation plan resembled a Ponzi scheme, where investors are paid using the contribution of new investors.
Furthermore, Forsage does not appear in the list of virtual currency exchanges registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the SEC added.
RCashOnline, for its part, offers business packages that include Royale products for resale, starting at P18,660 for one account and going as high as P130,620 for seven accounts with insurance worth P1 million.
The scheme of RCashOnline relies heavily on recruiting members in exchange for high monetary rewards rather than on selling products, the SEC said.
The Saint John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta Foundation, on the other hand, invites members to join its programs for free. The group promises members P5,000 worth of grocery items every month and offers 21-year-old male agriculture students and graduates all-expenses-paid training with $1,000 allowance in Israel for six months, in exchange for personal information.
The group also claims that it will soon purchase a 100-hectare land for future housing/ agricultural projects.
The SEC warned that any matter entered into by a corporation whose registration has been revoked, other than for the purpose of liquidation, is void.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.