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Public warned on schemes disguised as biz resellers

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public against investment schemes disguising as business resellers.

In a press statement, the SEC said the public needs to exercise caution when dealing with individuals or groups acting as reseller business partnerships as it is just a front of their unauthorized investment schemes.

The Commission previously called out in separate advisories the “investment-solicitation and – taking” activities of JOCALS688 Beauty and Wellness Products Trading, Inc., TBCMMP Masa Mart, Inc. and CashCowRobot.

SEC bared that JOCALS688 entices the public to invest P10,000 to P100,000 with an assured 30% monthly return. Alternatively, one may pay a smaller amount of P3,980 to become a member and receive certain products.

Based on the information that has reached the agency, members can earn through direct selling and their “buy-and-earn” program based in Zamboang del Sur. The members allegedly may also receive the so-called “direct referral”, pairing and unilevel bonuses.

“Even if there are products involved, the scheme relies heavily on inviting people for a promise of high monetary rewards. Using a referral link, one can recruit a member and earn P500 for every successful registered account,” the Commission said.

SEC also stressed that the products distributed by JOCALS688 are not registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The company neither has a license to operate from the FDA-Center for Food Regulation and Research,” it added.

Meanwhile, the TBCMMP Masa Mart is offering its potential clients packaged price of products for P5,888 which comes with instant benefits such as products worth 75% of the amount invested, free annual subscription worth $10 and a $100 investment in The Billion Coin (TBC).

A member may earn through the Helping Others Task Program or the so-called 1:5 Helping Formula promoted by Masa Mart. Under the scheme, a new member will only have to recruit five people to enjoy the benefits.

One may also gain from subscribing to the TBC Cookie Rewards and UMC Masa Coin. Upon payment of the subscription fee ranging from $25 to $20,000, the investor may earn 30% monthly to 2,561.81% per annum.

The Commission also said that selling products is another way of earning in Masa Mart, where at least 40 of which that they are offering have been the subject of previous FDA advisories.

CashCowRobot, on the other hand, offers a scheme where the public can earn as much as P8,000 per day by recruiting more members, completing tasks online and selling digital products.

One only needs to pay P1,000 for a promise of a lifetime membership. After that, the new member will receive unlimited referral commissions, pairing bonuses and compensation for selling products and completing tasks online.

The Commission said that the investment schemes of JOCALS688, TBCMMP Masa Mart and CashCowRobot constitute the sale and offering of securities, which shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the SEC.

“Records of the Commission show neither JOCALS688, TBCMMP Masa Mart nor CashCowRobot is authorized to solicit investments from the public, not having secured prior registration and/or license to sell securities or solicit investments as prescribed under Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code,” it said.

The Commission said JOCALS688 and TBCMMP Masa Mart are registered corporations. However, their registration only grants them juridical personality and does not give them the authority to issue, sell or offer for sale securities to the public nor engage in business activities requiring a secondary license from the SEC.

CashCowRobot, meanwhile, is purportedly registered with the Department of Trade and Industry as CashCowRobot Computer Solutions, an entity owned by a certain Khen Narajo Salce and headquartered in Misamis Occidental. Such registration similarly limits CashCowRobot from soliciting investments from the public.

The Commission said those individuals involved in these “fraudulent” investment schemes acting as salesman, brokers, dealers or agents may be held “criminally liable” and penalized with a maximum fine of P5 million or imprisonment of 21 years or both under the Securities Regulation Code.

“Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, further penalizes those participating in cyber incidents that make use or take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to prey on the public through scams, phishing, fraudulent emails, or other similar acts with two-month imprisonment or a maximum fine of P1 million or both,” the SEC said.

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