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SEC flags eight more investment schemes

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has flagged eight more entities in separate advisories for their unregistered investment solicitation programs.

These offerings are PH Lazada International Trade Co. Ltd., Suhail Medical Center, Inc., Zigma Trade, Victorich Trades Co., S AMZ Shop, Phillq International Trade Co., AxieCrowd Asia, and Double M FX Financial Consultancy Services.

The SEC said those involved in the unregistered investment schemes may be prosecuted or held criminally liable under the Securities Regulation Code and may face monetary fines worth as much as P5 million and/or 21 years behind bars.

PH Lazada International Trade also goes by the name PH Lazada or PH Lazada VIP. The SEC said the entity is luring the public to invest in its program via social media sites or through its own websites.

PH Lazada International Trade said it is “a self-service order placement platform for all international e-commerce companies,” servicing platforms such as Shopee, Lazada, Amazon, and eBay.

However, Lazada E-Services Philippines, Inc. told the SEC through a letter dated Nov. 15 that it is not connected nor associated with PH Lazada International Trade and PHILAZ International Trade Co. Ltd.

“Lazada has never authorized nor contracted PH Lazada and PHILAZ for the solicitation, acceptance, or taking of investments or placements from the public or for the issuance of investment contracts and other forms of securities,” the SEC said in an advisory dated Nov. 16.

“Lazada has also never authorized PH Lazada and PHILAZ to use Lazada’s name or image in any transaction,” it added.

PH Lazada, along with entities S AMZ Shop, Phillq International Trade or PHILLQ, and AxieCrowd Asia, is said to offer programs that are similar to a Ponzi scheme, where the investments of new clients are used to pay off the “fake profits” of old investors.

None of these entities are registered with the commission and none of them have the required license to offer investments to the public.

“The offering and selling of securities in the form of investment contracts using the ‘Ponzi scheme,’ which is fraudulent and unsustainable, is not a registrable security,” the SEC said in its advisories against PH Lazada, S AMZ Shop, and Phillq International Trade.

“The commission will not issue a license to sell securities to the public to persons or entities that are engaged in this business or scheme,” it added.

Meanwhile, the SEC said Suhail Medical Center is headed by a certain Jesser T. Cordova. The public is being lured into investing in the entity to be a co-owner of the hospital, which is located at Barangay Punta, Batino Exit in Calamba, Laguna. The entity promises would-be investors a “lifetime” of revenues based on its quarterly performance.

The medical center also promises investors free laboratories and checkups for the co-owners and their relatives.

Suhail Medical Center is not registered with the commission and it also does not have the license to solicit investments from the public.

In a certification dated Oct. 30, the Department of Health – Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau also said there is no existing licensed health facility under Suhail Medical Center in Calamba, Laguna.

“Even a health facility with that name applying for any authorization (license to operate, certificate of accreditation, certificate of registration, or authority to operate a health facility) does not exist,” the SEC said.

Zigma Trade, Victorich Trades, and Double M FX Financial Consultancy Services are also not registered with the commission and none have the license to collect investments from the public.

Zigma Trade is said to be offering a program that promises investors a 50% return of their minimum investment every five days within 30 days. Its minimum investment per slot is priced at P500, however, it did not set a maximum limit. The entity also offers a direct referral bonus of 3%.

“A member shall only need to invest, wait, and earn without having to do anything,” the SEC said.

Meanwhile, Victorich Trades also goes by Victorich and is headed by a certain Victorio Salvador or VRich Salvador.

“Victorich is enticing the public to be ‘co-producers’ of its program by purchasing a package for a minimum of P500, inclusive of [a] one-piece peppermint essential oil and [a] one-piece lavender essential oil with 30% profit in 30 days,” the regulator said.

Victorich is also not registered as a crowdfunding intermediary or a funding portal. The commission said all the names of those involved in the entity’s scheme will be reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenues so the appropriate penalties and/or taxes may be assessed.

Double M FX Financial Consultancy Services is led by a certain Melvin Marinez. The entity also goes by Double M Global Trading and is said to be offering an investment package for as low as P500 and promises a return of 300% within 15 days. Investors may also earn a 20% commission via a direct referral bonus, among others. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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