The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) debunked on Tuesday the claim of controversial religious group KAPA Community Ministry International (KAPA) that it has filed an application for a secondary license to sell and offer sale securities to the public.
In a statement, the regulator said it “has not received any application for a secondary license from KAPA, as verified by the SEC Company Registration and Monitoring Department.”
“Besides, KAPA does not have a juridical personality to make such application,” it added.
The SEC revoked the formerly registered nonstock corporation on April 13 after finding out that it solicited investments for the public, but did not have a secondary license.
In exchange for a 30-percent monthly “blessing” or “love gift” for life, KAPA lured the public to “donate” P10,000 “without having to do anything other than shell out money and wait for the promised payout,” the SEC said.
“Securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the commission,” according to Section 8 of Republic Act (RA) 8799 or the “Securities Regulation Code.”
KAPA also employed a Ponzi scheme, the SEC added, which was a violation under Section 26 of RA 8799. Under a Ponzi scheme, a company or individual attracts investors with “highly impossible returns” to be paid out from contributions from other future investors.
Apart from this, “KAPA falsely claimed that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas released a statement purportedly approving its investment scheme and questioning delays on the part of the SEC,” the regulator added.
The SEC renewed its warning to the public not to fall for investment scams.
“We enjoin the investing public to be more discerning with and critical of any promises and persuasions made by fraudsters,” SEC Chairman Emilio Aquino said.
“When presented an investment opportunity, take time to verify the legitimacy of the company, especially their authority to solicit investments from the public, and to understand how the promised returns will be generated and delivered,” he added.
The SEC filed a criminal complaint against the religious group on June 18. Included in the case were founder and President Joel Apolinario, trustee Margie Danao, Corporate Secretary Reyna Apolinario and other promoters of the investment scam.
Section 28 of the code specifies that unregistered entities could not buy or sell securities as a broker or dealer and salesman, among others.
Doing so will hold the culprit criminally liable and may face a fine of up to P5 million or imprisonment of 21 years or both, as mandated by Section 73.