After KAPA, SEC runs after 5 more ‘investment scams’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 11)— Following the crackdown on the Kapa-Community Ministry International, Inc. (KAPA), the Securities and Exchange Commission ran after five more groups allegedly running illegal investment schemes.

In a statement Tuesday, SEC said its personnel swooped on the offices of other “investment scams” operating in the Visayas and Mindanao, in cooperation with the National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

A total of 24 search warrants were served as authorities conducted separate operations on Monday and Tuesday.

SEC identified the firms as Rigen Marketing, Organico Agribusiness Ventures Corp., Ada Farm Agriventures, Ever Arm Any Marketing, and Alabel-Maasim Credit Cooperative.

The companies encourage the public to invest money on various products, while promising hefty monthly returns ranging from 35 percent to 500 percent, according to SEC.

“The raiding teams were able to seize voluminous documents and cash together with other equipment and paraphernalia used by the scammers in enticing investors to invest their money with them despite not having the necessary license or permit from the SEC to engage in investment taking and in the offering and/or selling of securities,” the commission said.

Prior to the operations, SEC said it already flagged the companies for their unauthorized activities.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the shutdown of groups involved in pyramid schemes over the weekend.

The pyramid scheme, similar to the Ponzi scheme, is based on using funds from new investors to pay old investors with high returns at little to no risk. The aim is to constantly attract new investors to sustain the payouts, otherwise the fund tanks and the cycle ends. The Ponzi scheme is named after a swindler named Charles Ponzi who devised the fraud in 1919.

Following the President's directive, authorities were quick to knock on the doors of religious group KAPA, which has been asking for donations from members.

READ: KAPA open to probe amid investment scam allegations

The NBI on Tuesday said KAPA officials may face syndicated and large-scale estafa, which is a non-bailable offense.