Saturday, February 24, 2024

Public advisory issued against Pasig-based online ‘paluwagan’ firm

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a public advisory against BNY PAL (Benta Paluwagan/BNYPAL & Trading) after it was found soliciting investments from the public without the necessary permits.

The company, which is based in Pasig City, has victimized a number of residents in the city who invested as much as P1.5 million each.

BNY PAL officials headed by a certain Rohanie G. Velasco are now hiding and can no longer be located. The investors are now preparing cases to be filed in court against Velasco’s group and their cohorts.

Pasig mayor Vico Sotto has also revoked the company’s business permit, saying BNY’s permit is for a wholesale business and not for soliciting investments.

As posted online, BNY PAL offered investments to the public in the form of “paluwagan” slots or cash “benta” slots.

Individuals may invest money for a minimum of P20,000. Based on one of the contracts posted, BNY PAL offered a minimum of 30% in just 10 days.

The SEC noted that BNY PAL offered different “paluwagan” slots and income for different time-maturity periods. There is no certain computation or matrix on how much income is given per amount invested.

“The public is being made aware that an ‘investment contract’ exists when there is an investment or placement of money in a common enterprise with a reasonable expectation of profits to be derived from the efforts of others which is prominent in the scheme of BNY PAL,” it said.

“As such, the Securities Regulation Code (SRC) requires that said offer and sale of securities must be duly registered with the Commission and that the concerned entity and/or its agents should have the appropriate registration and/or license to sell such securities to the public,” it added.

Based on the SEC’s database, BNY PAL was not registered as a corporation or a partnership. Likewise, it did not secure prior registration and/or license to solicit investments.

The regulator said the scheme employed by BNY PAL has the characteristics of a “Ponzi Scheme” where monies from new investors are used in paying “fake profits” to prior investors and is designed mainly to favor its top recruiters and prior risk takers and is detrimental to subsequent members in case of scarcity of new investors.

“The offering and selling of securities in the form of investment contracts using the “Ponzi Scheme”, which is fraudulent and unsustainable, is not a registrable security,” the SEC said.

“The Commission will not issue a License to Sell Securities to the Public to persons or entities that are engaged in this business or scheme,” it said.

“In view thereof, the public is hereby advised not to invest or to stop investing in the investment scheme being offered by BNY PAL and its representatives,” it warned.

“Those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers, agents, representatives, promoters, recruiters, uplines, influencers, endorsers, abetters, and enablers of BNY PAL in selling or convincing people to invest in the investment scheme being offered by the said entity including soliciting investments or recruiting investors through the internet may be held criminally liable.”

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