Mica Tan companies, 30 officers face criminal raps | Inquirer Business

Mica Tan companies, 30 officers face criminal raps

SEC lodges complaint with DOJ, cites multiple violations of securities laws
/ 02:17 AM April 22, 2024

Mica Tan companies, 30 officers face criminal raps


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a criminal complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against CEO Maria Francesca Tan and her companies over allegedly illegal investment schemes.

The corporate watchdog on Sunday said the complaint had been lodged against MFT Group of Companies Inc., Foundry Ventures I Inc., and at least 30 other officers for violating Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).


“The filing of the criminal case stemmed from complaints submitted by several investors who participated in the investment scheme of the MFT Group, which later transitioned to Foundry Ventures,” the SEC said in a statement.


To recall, the corporate watchdog ordered Tan’s companies to stop selling investment contracts after receiving complaints that they had been falling behind on their payments for years.

The SEC made the cease and desist order permanent on April 1.

MFT Group had vowed to cooperate with the commission, claiming that they had a “strong track record of compliance” with securities regulations.

Tan previously gained recognition for expanding to the food business via Saladstop! and Mimi & Bros restaurant, as well as health care through Mondial Kidney Care Center.

According to the SEC, the MFT Group reportedly promised investors guaranteed returns ranging from 12 percent to 18 percent of the amount they invested.

The scheme was reportedly done through the issuance of postdated checks reflecting a 1-percent to 1.5-percent monthly interest to investors, who were given either a promissory note or borrower-lender agreement as proof of their investment.


The SEC pointed out, however, that the involved securities were not registered with the commission and were therefore unauthorized.

Under the SRC, securities may not be sold or offered for sale or distribution in the Philippines without a registration statement filed with and approved by the SEC.

Violators may face a maximum penalty of P5 million or imprisonment of 21 years, or both.

The regulator also found MFT Group and its officers and directors liable for 17 counts of misrepresentation in its 2018 to 2021 audited financial statements (AFS) “by reflecting dividend income which has no basis.”

The SEC likewise explained that the amount received by MFT Group from investors should have been recognized in its books of accounts either as part of the company’s liabilities or share capital.

But based on the SEC’s review, “no such amount reflected in the AFS of the subject company would correspond to the monies invested by investors to either equity or liabilities of the company.”

“The investing public, including and especially MFT’s investors, relied on these [financial statements] in making investment decisions,” the SEC said in its complaint.

“Stated otherwise, the information/entries in the AFS of the MFT Group were essential in convincing investors to part with their hard-earned money, and entrust the same to the MFT Group” especially since independent auditor Isla Lipana & Co. vouched for the company’s financial health, the commission added.

Isla Lipana was also implicated in the complaint.

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The Inquirer reached out to the MFT Group for comment but it has yet to respond. INQ

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