SEC orders two groups to stop investment schemes

Published December 7, 2022, 2:31 PM

by James A. Loyola

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered Sophia Francisco Holding OPC and BeastnessAllDay Corporation to stop soliciting investments from the public, as part of its crackdown against illegal investment schemes.

The investment schemes of BeastnessAllDay and Sophia Francisco Group both involve the sale and offer of securities to the public in the form of investment contracts, whereby a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits primarily from the efforts of others, according to the SEC.

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The Commission said that, while both firms are registerd with the SEC, neither of them have been issued licenses to solicit investments from the public.

The SEC previously issued separate advisories against BeastnessAllDay and the Sophia Francisco Group on February 3 and September 22, respectively, warning the public not to invest in the said entities.

In an order dated November 24, the Commission En Banc directed Sophia Francisco Holding OPC, Financial Consultancy Services Sophia-Francisco, and Sophia Francisco Trading to stop offering and selling investments to the public without the necessary license from the SEC.

The order covers owner and agent Sophia Maria Andrea Francisco, president Gregorio Ramirez, nominee Yolanda Ramirez, and alternate nominee John Mark Henarez Francisco, as well as all persons, conduit entities and subsidiaries acting on behalf of the group.

The group was also ordered to cease its internet presence relating to its investment scheme. They were further prohibited from transacting any business involving funds in its depository banks, and from transferring, disposing, or conveying any related assets to ensure the preservation of the assets of the investors.

The order was issued after the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) found that the Sophia Francisco Group has been actively offering or selling unregistered securities in the form of investment contracts to the public.

The Sophia Francisco Group offered investments worth as low as P500 with guaranteed earnings of up to 3 percent daily for 20 days. It also gave a 5 percent referral fee to those who can invite new investors into the group.

While the Sophia Francisco Group is registered as a one-person corporation with the SEC, it has not been issued a secondary license that would authorize it to solicit investments from the public, nor does the group have a pending application for such license.

Meanwhile, the SEC has also issued a cease and desist order against BeastnessAllDay, led by its owner and CEO Angelo Diaz Parian, for engaging in investment solicitation activities despite not having the authority to do so.

The order extends to BeastnessAllDay’s operators, directors, officers, representatives, salesmen, agents, promoters, uplines, and influencers, who have likewise been prohibited from transacting any business involving funds in its depository banks, and from transferring, disposing, or conveying any related assets to ensure the preservation of the assets of the investors.

The order was issued after the EIPD found BeastnessAllDay to be promising 10 percent to 12 percent monthly returns after a five-month period to investors who invest P50,000 into the group.

The guaranteed returns will supposedly come from its investments, sale of gadgets, real and personal properties, luxury vehicles, shoes, and other apparels.

“The products and business are however all a sham, and are utilized to entice the public to part with their hard-earned money,” the EIPD said.

The EIPD also found that Mr. Parian, BeastnessAllDay’s CEO, has been arrested for practicing financial activities without the requisite license and for money laundering, according to a post by the Ministry of Interior- Qatar.

BeastnessAllDay is a registered corporation with the SEC. However, it has never been issued a secondary license that would authorize it to offer or sell investments to the public.

“[I]t is clear that BeastnessAllDay’s business model which promises high return of investments is not sustainable and can only be carried out as long as new investors continue to come in,” the Commission En Banc said in its order against BeastnessAllDay.

IT added that, “This is a fraudulent scheme which will likely cause grave or irreparable injury or prejudice to the investing public.”

Meanwhile, the SEC said in its order against the Sophia Francisco Group: “[T]he act of Sophia Francisco Group in selling/offering securities sans the requisite license from the Commission operates as a fraud to the public which, if unrestrained, will likely cause grave or irreparable injury or prejudice to the investing public.”

 
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