SEC-Davao says 5 online firms illegally soliciting investments

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 July) — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Davao Extension Office has warned the public to exercise caution in dealing with five online companies that are soliciting investments without licenses in its area of responsibility.

The agency identified these firms as Royale Online Generation, Million Money or Million.Money, Maxi Trendy Sales Corporation, Trendy Unlimited Trading Corporation or “Trendy”, Lucky Likers Digital Marketing Services, represented in the social media as “Lucky Likers Club”, and Ecolife Biz/Ishared Technologies Ecolife.

It likewise warned against investing in Ceazar Pacific Money Lending Co. Ltd. and Captchalinkz Digital Marketing Services, which operate in other parts of the country.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-Davao Extension Office. Photo courtesy of Google Streetview

There was no confirmation yet if these two companies operate in SEC-Davao Extension Office’s jurisdiction, which covers Davao Region, Maguindanao and Soccsksargen or Region 12.

The warning came barely a month after the SEC en banc denied the motion of Crowd1 Asia Pacific, Inc. (CROWD1) to lift the cease and desist order issued against it last May 12, ending the online firm’s assertion that its investment activities were legitimate.

In its order dated May 12, the agency said it has ordered CROWD1 to “cease their internet presence relating to the transactions and investment scheme,” and would institute “appropriate administrative and criminal action against any persons or entities found to act as solicitors, information providers, salesmen, agents, brokers, dealers, or for and in behalf of the subject partnership.”

The agency warned the public that it would be unsustainable to invest in companies that do not have a legal personality.

It said the Securities Regulations Code provides that registered companies could only solicit securities and other similar investment instruments after securing a “secondary license,” explaining that a certificate of incorporation does not constitute a license to solicit or accept investments from the public.

“The Commission finds that the foregoing investment scheme involves the sale and/or offer of securities in the form of investment contracts which require secondary license under the SRC,” it said.

In its decision, the SEC’s Enforcement and Investor Protection Department established that “CROWD1 is selling and/or offering securities to the public in the form of investment contracts without the required secondary license from the Commission.”

It added CROWD1’s business model claims to be a “digital marketing business which generates income from online games, and allegedly facilitates the generation by its members of residual income from its affiliate gaming companies such as AFFIGLO and MIGGSTER which developed DOTA, Mobile Legends, Flappybird and Candy Crush.”

It said CROWD1 in reality is “carrying out a fraudulent investment scheme consisting of the sale and/or offer of inexistent securities in the form of investment contracts to the public using the internet and online platforms.”

It said  CROWD1 actively promotes and entices the public to invest in it by choosing from among the packages available which guarantee a return of investment, and paying the corresponding price for the same to wit: (a) white package worth ₱6,000.00; (b) black package worth ₱18,000.00; (c) gold package worth ₱47,000.00; and (d) titanium package worth ₱150,000.00. There is also this Pro-titanium package worth ₱240,000.00 which is allegedly limited in number.

“CROWD1 also represented to the public that a pairing incentive/benefit payable in Euro is available to member-investors who are able to recruit new members.

“After choosing and purchasing a package, the member-investor is made to believe that he/she will start to earn five different bonuses: streamline bonus, binary pairing bonus, fear of loss bonus, matching bonus, and residual bonus from games and gambling apps,” it said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)