SEC permanently bars CROWD1 investment

Published July 19, 2020, 10:00 PM

by James A. Loyola

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has permanently barred CROWD1 Asia Pacific, Inc. from soliciting and accepting investments from the public under a scheme disguised as a digital marketing business.

In a resolution, the Commission denied the Motion to Lift Cease and Desist Order Ad Cautelam filed by CROWD1 for lack of merit and thereby declared the cease and desist order permanent.

“A careful review of the Motion to Lift will show that except for its general denials, CROWD1 failed to present any evidence in support of its claim that it is not engaged in the sale or offer for sale of securities in the form of investment contracts,” the SEC said.

The SEC issued a cease and desist order against CROWD1 last May 12 after finding that the entity has operated “a fraudulent investment scheme consisting of the sale or offer of inexistent securities in the form of investment contracts to the public.”

CROWD1 has solicited and accepted investments from the public by offering what it describes as educational packages for a minimum of P6,000 and as much as P240,000.

To entice the public to invest, CROWD1 has promised member-investors five different bonuses: streamline bonus, binary pairing bonus, fear of loss bonus, matching bonus, and residual bonus from games and gambling apps.

CROWD1 has likewise touted a pairing incentive payable in euros to encourage member-investors to recruit new members.

Representing itself as a digital marketing business, CROWD1 has claimed that it generates income from online games and facilitates the generation by its members of residual income from its affiliate gaming companies such as AFFIGLO and MIGGSTER.

In its Motion to Lift, CROWD1 argued its operations were limited to business processing, with affiliates marketing products and shares in the earnings of the organization.

It also argued that the educational packages it was selling to the public was allowed since its objective is to educate the affiliates of the organization on possible wealth to be gained from marketing products and services.

The SEC, however, sustained the evidence presented by the Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) showing CROWD1, its officers, agents and representatives were soliciting investments by enticing people to avail of its educational packages and recruit more investors to receive commissions. The Commission noted: “As correctly pointed out by the EIPD, people avail of the so-called educational packages for the purpose of securing for themselves the guaranteed high yields promised by CROWD1.