SEC revokes BillFord registration, finds its pig investment scheme fishy
MANILA, Philippines—The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has revoked the corporate registration of Bill Ford VIP Trading, an entity that sells piggery investments, citing its practice as an unauthorized investment activity resembling a Ponzi scheme.
BillFord Trading’s investment scheme involved the sale of pigs for P2,500 each, with the promise of this investment growing to P4,375 three months later.
In an order issued on April 14, the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) found the group, headed by a certain Billy Ford Delos Santos Andrada, to have engaged in investment-taking activities by selling or offering securities to the public without a secondary license from the SEC.
In doing so, BillFord Trading committed an “ultra vires” act under the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines, the SEC announced on Thursday (April 21).
The company’s activities also constituted “serious misrepresentation” to the “great prejudice of or damage to the general public,” a ground to revoke its certificate of registration under Presidential Decree No. 902-A, according to the SEC’s order.
Under its investment scheme, an investor who buys five pigs worth P12,500 is guaranteed to get P21,875 by the end of three months, while someone who invests in 40 pigs worth P100,000 will get a gross profit of P175,000 after the same period.
As a form of security, the Securities Regulation Code requires that investment contracts must be registered with the SEC before these can be sold or offered within the Philippines. However, SEC records showed that BillFord Trading is not authorized to solicit investments from the public.
The EIPD further noted that BillFord Trading’s main strategy was to earn from the recruitment of new members or investors, with the piggery business being used as a front for its scheme.
“Necessarily, this scheme is unsustainable, as it must rely on a continuous inflow of new investors in order to make payouts to earlier investors,” the order read.
“To exacerbate matters, the scheme being offered by BillFord Trading Co./ Bill Ford VIP Trading Inc. is clearly in the nature of Ponzi scheme, where the profits or payouts shall be taken from incoming investors or additional pay-ins of existing members-investors considering that it does not have any underlying legitimate business from where it could source its promised return on investments to its investors,” the SEC said.
The SEC added that BillFord Trading had committed another instance of fraud when three of its incorporators—Trixie Faith Pena, Andrew James Balero and Jethro John Reyes—provided wrong addresses in the company’s articles of incorporation.
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