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SEC flags down more investment ‘scam’ groups

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo May 27,2020 - 03:50 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Securities and Exchange Commission has flagged more groups for alleged unauthorized solicitation of investments from the public.

In an emailed press statement, SEC cautioned the public from investing in firms Aquitek Food Trading, MR Lifestyle E-Comm Company (formerly Don Heraldo Mr. Lifestyle E-Comm Company), Payadstars/ PayAdStars, I Earn01 Trading, Inc. which also carries the name “iEarn,” and R3DCON Philippines Corporation and Investor’s Choice. 

“The groups have neither registered securities such as investment contracts nor secured secondary licenses to solicit and take investments from the public, as required under the Securities Regulation Code,” the SEC said.

The Commission also warned those who engage in cyber scams such as phishing and fraudulent emails, taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic struggle of individuals and businesses, that such activities also violate the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

This type of violation entails two-month imprisonment or a maximum fine of P1 million, or both on top of the penalties prescribed by the Securities Regulation Code which imposes a fine of P5 million or imprisonment of 21 years, or both.

Perpetrator of investment fraud

Meanwhile, SEC has also debunked claims of the supposed dismissal of fraud charges against Kapa-Community Ministry International (KAPA).

In an emailed press statement, SEC said the criminal cases against KAPA remain pending in various courts while its founder and president Joel Apolinario and other officers are out on bail.

Last January, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed criminal charges the group’s founder and officers in various courts after SEC identified the group as  “perpetrator of investment fraud.”

Apolinario is also facing charges for syndicated estafa, a nonbailable offense, before the Cagayan de Oro City Regional Trial Court Branch 21.

“KAPA supporters and promoters have been circulating videos featuring a purported telephone interview with Mr. Apolinario, falsely claiming that all cases against KAPA have been dismissed, amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” the SEC said.

The supposed video interview was posted on a YouTube channel on May 7. /bmjo

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