SEC files crime raps vs firm in pyramiding scam


Criminal charges were filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against a company engaged in a multi-million investment scam before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

A total of 502 counts of violations of Repubic Act (RA) No. 8799, also known as the Securities Regulation Code, were filed by the SEC against Hyper Program International (HPI) Direct Sales and Trading Corporation, Hyper Program International Holdings Corp.

The SEC urge the DOJ to conduct an immediate preliminary investigation of the case and if probable cause warrants, to file the necessary charges before the regular courts.

Also named in the charge sheet as respondents are Business Icon Premier Trading Inc., Darlito M. de la Cruz, Queen Ashley T. Ablan, Pablito Andal, Aida-Lyn D. Gabriel, Arleen M. de la Cruz, Angelita Basbas, Mary Jane Terrible, Ernesto Lee Pinera Jr., Bernadette Villapaz, Jasem An Vienice L. Ella, Irene Mercado, Ian Manguera, Mark Anthony G. Ballesteros, Anthony J. Purganan, Maytham Mutadha Akbar Abbas, Mohammad Murtadha Akbar Abbas, Mark Levonne G. Cortado, Marlon Bathan Muya, Tom Arthur K. de la Cruz, Jeaun Christopher J. Tolsa, Jenn Santos and several John and Jane Does.

The SEC received several complaints accusing the respondents of engaging in a “pyramiding scam” or selling investments to the public at a high interest/profit without secondary permit filed with and approved by the SEC.

Investigators of the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department were deployed to the HPI and HPI Direct office and acted as investors.

In their affidavits, the SEC investigators said that they talked to an HPI and HPI Direct representative named “Janet” who offered several packages where an investor can invest money and earn high profit in a span of 40 to 45 days. “Janet” allegedly told them the companies’ products are a mere front as they are focusing more on the investment program/scheme.

The probers were presented several investment packages ranging from the “Bronze Package” amounting to P7,350 up to the “Triple Platinum Package” amounting to P268,800.

However, it was discovered that HPI and HPI Direct are not registered issuers of securities.

The SEC Markets and Securities Regulation Department (MSRD) also certified that HPI and HPI Direct have not been issued Certification of Registration or Licenses to act as commodity futures merchant, broker or dealer in securities, investment adviser of an investment house, transfer agent and seller, or offer for sale or distribute securities and commodity future contracts to the public.

The SEC received 80 complaints against HPI and HPI Direct.

In a related development, another complaint was filed before the DOJ involving an alleged Ponzi scheme.

Mary Grace Miranda Lapid, the wife of actor Jess Lapid, was charged for violation of the Securities Regulation Code.

She was accused allegedly for the selling of unregistered securities without a salesman’s license involving Emgoldex, Global Intergold (GIG), and Prosperous Infinite Philippines Holdings Corp. (PIPHC).

Gloreyna B. Reyes claimed that Lapid is actively engaged in soliciting investments for GIG and PIPHC through Facebook.

Lapid had asked Reyes to invest P36,000 per share in GIG with the promise of huge profits amounting to P180,000.

Lapid allegedly told Reyes to recruit additional investors. A member will then receive P180,000, or the actual value of gold a prospective member has to buy in an online shop. Reyes decided to invest P23,966 in cash, afterwards an additional deposit of P12,534 was also made.

However, Reyes said that she did not get any profit.


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