SEC leads raid against Casa Infiniti

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) led anti-crime and police forces in shutting down the operations of Casa Infini Builders and Realty Co. Ltd. and its affiliated companies in Baguio City.

In a statement, the SEC said the firms were found to be illegally soliciting investments from the public during their “Real EsTea Talk” held in a hotel in Legarda Road, Baguio City.

In a joint operation with the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit Cordillera, and the Baguio City Police Office, the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) served a cease and desist order (CDO) issued by the Commission En Banc against Casa Infini.

The joint operation led to the arrest of Jennylyn Galletes De Los Santos Floresca, together with 24 other agents, partners and employees.

The EIPD subsequently filed a complaint charging Floresca and those arrested for violation of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC) and the Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act (FCPA) in relation the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The criminal complaint led to the indictment of \ Floresca, together with three others for the violations of the SRC and FCPA per resolution issued by the Baguio City prosecutor during the inquest proceedings.

“[Evidence] shows that there is reasonable ground to hold respondents Floresca, Ruhhiya Ymana, Jerick Sadernas, and Jacqueline Melchor liable for violations of Sections 8, 26 and 28 of the [SRC] for their acts of offering securities without the required registration statement duly filed with and approved by the SEC, for investment fraud, and for soliciting investments without license,” according to the partial disposition by the Baguio City Office of the City Prosecution.

The SEC issued the CDO against the Casa Infini group, including Ray Education Directions Consultancy Services, Casa Infini Realty Management Co. Ltd., Ray International Philippines Corporation, Be Unrivaled Productions, and Sine Cordillera, and Casa Infini Properties and Development Corp. for its unauthorized investment solicitation activities.

The entities identify Floresca as either a partner or incorporator. Floresca has also been the subject of an earlier CDO issued by the SEC on March 16 for casino junket financing operations, together with Hector Liao Pantollana, Horizon Players Club, Philippine National eSports League, and other Baguio City residents collectively known in social media as “Team Z”.

The groups were found to have enticed the public to invest in their alleged real estate projects in Baguio City either as a buyer-investor or partner financier, where they were promised a guaranteed monthly interest rate of 4.5 percent for 12 months, equivalent to 54 percent per year.

In the Real EsTea Talk event, Casa Infini claimed to have persuaded more than 700 investors into its investment scheme. Operatives during the event witnessed the actual placement of funds amounting to hundreds of thousands of pesos from 19 would-be investors.

Casa Infini and Casa Infini Realty Management are duly registered partnerships with the Commission, while Ray International Philippines and Casa Infini Properties and Development are registered corporations. Ray Education is a sole proprietorship registered with the Department of Trade and Industry.

However, the groups have never been issued a secondary license that would authorize them to offer or sell investments to the public.