SEC Advises Public Against 9 Illegal Investment Schemes

The following entities are enticing the public to invest without the necessary registration requirements from the SEC.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued nine public advisories since October 25 against entities that have engaged in unauthorized solicitation of investments without the necessary license from the Commission. The SEC warns investors to be wary of these entities and to only invest in securities that are offered by licensed and registered investment professionals.

Read more SEC advisories here.

Flagged Entities

1. 7-Eleven Electronic Commerce Limited/7-Eleven Electronic Commerce Limited – Passi Branch

Date of Advisory:  October 25, 2023.  

According to the advisory, the entity, owned by Dexyll Joy Palma Agnes, Aldin Joy Palma Agnes, and Jenil Padura Alaro, is allegedly offering virtual 7-Eleven shop rentals through a mobile application. 

Investors are enticed with promises of daily and monthly income, with investment packages ranging from ₱15,000 to ₱218,000. Despite claiming to be Colorado-based, the entity is not affiliated with 7-Eleven Convenience Stores or its subsidiaries. 

The Commission noted that the Securities Regulation Code (SRC) deems their “store rental” scheme as offering securities and mandates proper registration, which the entity lacks. Moreover, the SEC emphasized that its scheme displays characteristics of a Ponzi Scheme, and the entity is neither registered nor authorized to solicit investments from the public.

2. AJC 888 Inc.

Date of Advisory:  October 27, 2023.  

As per the advisory, the SEC stated that AJC 888 Inc. is claiming to be the largest intermediary e-commerce platform in the Philippines, and is enticing the public through social media, promising high monetary rewards. 

AJC 888 INC. offers part-time jobs, instructing individuals to place online orders for commissions, which can only be withdrawn after completing specific tasks. However, an investigation reveals that AJC 888 INC. is impersonating a registered company and presents a fake or falsified Certificate of Registration. 

The Commission underlined that the firm has been implementing the “Tasking and Recharging Scam,” which involves the offering and sale of securities that fall under the definition of “investment contracts.” Such offers require proper registration and licensing, which the SEC noted that AJC 888 does not have.

Moreover, the Commission also stressed that the entity’s scheme also exhibits characteristics of a Ponzi Scheme. 

3. DT Trading Data/Data Technology Trading 

Date of Advisory:  October 31, 2023.

The Commission highlighted that the entity DT Trading Data/Data Technology Trading is claiming to be a group of professional traders offering assistance in trading and signal analysis.

According to the advisory, the trading company offers two avenues for earning: participants can either engage in nightly trading through Telegram signals or assemble a team, earning daily salaries ranging from ₱400 to ₱8,000 depending on the team’s size. Investments, with amounts varying between ₱3,000 and ₱100,000, pledge a 10% daily return.

Consequently, the SEC flagged the scheme as it displays features similar to an “investment contract,” which necessitates appropriate registration and licensing—credentials that the entity lacks. Moreover, the Commission noted that it is a potential Ponzi Scheme.

4. Better Experience 

Date of Advisory:  October 31, 2023.

According to the Commission, Better Experience (be.), promoted by Rhemuel Lunio (a.k.a. DJ LOONYO), is suspected of soliciting investments from the public without the necessary authorization from regulators.

The company, which presents itself as a top technology firm based in Dubai, claims to offer digital applications and products related to financial markets such as forex, cryptocurrency, binary options, and stocks. It also features various applications, including World of Wisdom (WOW!), “Copy Paste Applications” (SHIFT, RELIC, WS TITAN, NFX), a travel platform called QUEST, and the SageMaster application for AI trading.

Better Experience (be.) offers five bundles ranging in price from $199 (around ₱11,000) to $1799 (₱100.8k), with more applications and features included in the more expensive bundles. The company also offers an Affiliate Business scheme, in which consumers can earn commissions and residual income by referring others to purchase the bundles.

The Commission points out that the scheme shows signs of an “investment contract,” requiring proper registration and licensing under the SRC. However, Better Experience (be.) is not registered as a Corporation or Partnership with the Commission and does not have the necessary registration or license to seek investments.

Further, the SEC warned that the scheme has the potential traits of a Ponzi scheme.

5. New Gen-Z Holdings Marketing Group

Date of Advisory:  November 9, 2023.

The SEC warns the public that New Gen-Z Holdings Marketing Group/New Gen-Z Holdings Inc./The All New Generation Z INC. is not authorized to solicit investments. The company, led by Homer Lim, allegedly engages in poultry farming and offers a co-partnership program through social media. 

New Gen-Z offers six distinct plans for potential investors, each promising varying monthly gains and corresponding payout schedules.

  • Plan A: 5% monthly gain or 60% per annum with monthly payouts.
  • Plan B: 6% monthly gain or 72% per annum with payouts every 2 months.
  • Plan C: 7% monthly gain or 84% per annum with payouts every 3 months.
  • Plan D: 8% monthly gain or 96% per annum with payouts every 4 months.
  • Plan E: 9% monthly gain or 108% per annum with payouts every 6 months.
  • Plan F: 11% monthly gain or 132% per annum with payouts every 12 months.

Despite these enticing propositions, the SEC warns the public that the entity is not authorized to solicit investments and lacks the necessary registration or license.

The Commission highlighted that Lim was previously involved in violations of the SRC, and was named in a previous SEC advisory against Gen-Z Agriventures Inc.

6. Kamayo Seafoods Buffet/Kamayo Seafoods Franchising And Co-Ownership Program/Kamayo Food Park Co-Ownership Program 

Date of Advisory:  November 9, 2023.

Following the reports received by the SEC, the Commission warned the public against the firm as it is allegedly enticing the public to invest with promises of high monetary rewards. 

Kamayo Seafoods is reportedly offering an investment opportunity under the guise of a franchising and co-ownership program, claiming to provide monthly income ranging from 5% to 15%. 

Since this involves the sale of securities to the public, the SEC emphasizes that these securities must be duly registered, and the entities or their agents must have the appropriate registration and/or license to sell such securities to the public, as mandated by Section 8 and 28 of the SRC. Consequently, the Commission warns that Kamayo Seafoods Buffet/Kamayo Seafoods Franchising And Co-Ownership Program/Kamayo Food Park Co-Ownership Program is not registered and is not authorized to offer, solicit, sell, or distribute any investment or securities to the public.

7. Hedge Bit Trading Inc. 

Date of Advisory:  November 9, 2023.

The Commission has flagged Hedge Bit Trading Inc., led by Myleen Villanueva, after receiving information that individuals or groups claiming to represent the firm are encouraging the public to invest in the entity. 

The SEC has noted that Myleen Villanueva’s Facebook posts offer a minimum investment of ₱5,000 with a guaranteed return of 18% to 144% in two months. Investors are also enticed to invest amounts from ₱500.00 to ₱50,000.00 with guaranteed profits within specified periods. Additionally, investors can earn an extra 20% of their recruit’s investment amount. 

Accordingly, the Commission warned the public about Hedge Bit Trading Inc., which is not registered with the SEC and is suspected of running a Ponzi scheme. 

8. ZTOCK operated and offered by Wetrade Technologies PTE LTD

Date of Advisory:  November 9, 2023.

The SEC has issued an advisory informing the public that ZTOCK, operated by Wetrade Technologies PTE LTD., is not authorized to solicit investments from the public.

The advisory is based on reports indicating that ZTOCK is enticing the public to invest in unregistered securities through its website and various social media platforms. ZTOCK presents itself as an “all-in-one investment app” targeting Gen-Z investors, offering the ability to trade over 8,000 US shares and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). 

The SEC emphasizes that securities must be properly registered before being sold or offered to the public, and ZTOCK/WETRADE TECHNOLOGIES PTE LTD. is not registered as a corporation or partnership with the necessary license to solicit, offer, or accept investments from the public. 

SEC Reminder

The Commission highlights that the investing public must be wary of Ponzi Schemes—investment offers promising exorbitant rates of return with little to no risk at all. These schemes are often fraudulent and have been known to collapse, leaving investors with significant losses. The Commission emphasizes that engaging in such fraudulent and unsustainable practices is not registrable security, and it will not issue a License to Sell Securities to entities involved in such schemes.

Moreover, people who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers, agents, representatives, promoters, operators, recruiters, uplines, influencers, endorsers, abettors, and enablers of entities that offer investment schemes that are not registered with the SEC may be held criminally liable under Section 28 of the SRC and Section 11 of the Republic Act No. 11765 or Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act (FCPA). The penalties for these offenses are a fine of up to ₱5,000,000 or imprisonment of up to 21 years, or both, pursuant to Section 73 of the SRC.

This article is published on BitPinas: SEC Advises Public Against 9 Illegal Investment Schemes


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