Stiff penalties for ponzi firm operators

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BAGUIO CITY  – Operators of ponzi firms face stiff penalties when found guilty of selling securities without license from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Lawyer Regina Cajucom, SEC Baguio chief counsel, said the selling of securities without license from the concerned agency is penalized by imprisonment of a minimum of seven years and a maximum of twenty one years and a fine of a minimum of P5,000 and a maximum of P5 million depending on the gravity of the offense as determined by the courts.

Aside from the aforesaid penalties, Cajucom disclosed Ponzi form operators can also be charged with multiple estafa or syndicated estafa by the clients that they were able to fool into investing in their companies but ended up losing their hard earned money.

Individuals charged with simple estafa could be imprisoned for a minimum of six years and a maximum of twelve years while those charged with syndicated estafa could face life imprisonment for each count of violation.

However, Cajucom said Ponzi firm operators could languish in jail depending on the number of counts of the charges that will be filed against them by the investors that they were able to hoodwink into believing their unimaginable proposition of 35 to 60 percent monthly interest for their investments.

Further, the SEC Baguio official added Ponzi firms that did not actually declare such kind of business operations with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) could also face tax evasion charges that would complicate the imposition of penalties against them in the future.

“We want victims to execute the required affidavits to support the filing of the appropriate charges against the investment scam operators or else the operators could freely dupe many innocent individuals into their false schemes,” Cajucom stressed.

According to her, the filing of charges of selling securities without license against Ponzi firm operators will not translate to the return of the investments of their members but it must be the duped members who will initiate the filing of estafa or syndicated estafa charges against the investment scam operators for them to be able to recover their money from the said companies that are even not registered with concerned government agencies.

She cited the reason for the proliferation of Ponzi schemes in the different parts of the Cordillera is the ability of people to be duped into believing in a false proposition primarily because of the very high interest offered to them for their short-term investments that eventually result to the closure of the company and the sudden disappearance of the operators.

The SEC official explained investment companies that tend to move back the release of pay-outs for the investments of its members, the reduction of interests on investments, the sudden change in the agreed scheme, the drawing against insufficient funds of post-dated checks among others are already sings that the company is nearing its closure and the eventual collapse of the scheme that will lead to the loss of hard earned money of members who placed their money in such attractive schemes.

Sec is a member of the multi-agency Task Force on Anti-Investment Scam that was created to purposely go after operators of Ponzi firms that had been hoodwinking thousands of innocent individuals into investing their hard earned money in exchange for interests ranging from 35 to 60 percent in just a month. By Dexter A. See

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