SEC flags more unlicensed investment schemes

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THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released two separate advisories against the investment schemes of Asiaworks Digital Marketing Services and 247STOCKTRADEFX.

“The SEC Advisories are issued in order to guide the public in making informed [decisions] regarding their investments and to warn all unscrupulous individuals and/or entities that strict penalties are imposed for violations of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC), the Revised Corporation Code, and such other rules and regulation enforced by the commission,” the corporate regulator said.

It has issued eight advisories against unlicensed investment schemes of unregistered entities in July. A total of 55 advisories have been released so far this year.

Asiaworks is said to be founded and led by a certain Ivan Henry Prieto Enrijo. It is a “triple your money” investment scheme, wherein investors are promised a 10% daily revenue in 30 days per subscription.

The entity’s investors are asked to create an account using a referral link or through its website, www.asiaworksco.com, where investors can track their subscriptions. Those who participate in the scheme can also earn via referrals.

“The above-described scheme offered by Ivan Henry Prieto Enrijo is clearly in the nature of solicitation of investments from the public in the form of investment contract. Simply, the scheme is ‘subscribe, wait, and earn,'” the corporate regulator said.

Asiaworks is not registered as a corporation or as a partnership with the commission. However, it has been issued a Certificate of Business Name Registration by the Department of Trade and Industry with Business Name No. 2875993 under Mr. Enrijo.

Despite this, Asiaworks does not have the necessary license to solicit investments from the public as required under the SRC.

As of writing, its website can no longer be reached.

Meanwhile, 247STOCKTRADEFX’s headquarters is said to be based in Liverpool, Australia.

“[It is] soliciting investments in the Philippines without the necessary license and/or authority from the commission through the assistance of its supposed brokers, accounts managers, agents, and/or representatives that [appear] to be using synthetic or fraudulent identities,” the SEC said.

The commission named Blessing Chima, Maryam M. Yau, and Itz Osmaneh as those working for the Australia-based entity. None of its representatives have the needed registration and/or the appropriate license to offer or sell securities to the public.

247STOCKTRADEFX’s investment program “shows indication of a possible Ponzi Scheme,” wherein investments of new members are used to pay the “profits” of earlier investors.

The entity is operating a digital exchange platform in the Philippines without proper registration with the commission, the SEC noted. It is not registered as a virtual asset service provider with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and it also lacks the required Certificate of Authority as a Money Service Business.

Names of all those involved in the operations of Asiaworks and 247STOCKTRADEFX will be reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenues to assess appropriate penalties and taxes.

The commission calls on the investing public not to invest or to stop investing in both entities.

Those who recruit anyone to invest in or join unauthorized investment programs may incur criminal liability, the SEC said. Salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of unauthorized entities may be criminally prosecuted and be fined a maximum of P5 million and/or face 21 years of imprisonment. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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