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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public against groups illegally peddling investments with promise of high returns over a short period of time using cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies.

In separate advisories issued on April 14, the SEC flagged the unauthorized investment-solicitation of Delta Crypt Limited, INVEXPERT and The Billion Coin (TBC).

The SEC found no record of the corporation registration of any of these three firms. More so, none of them has a secondary license to offer or sell securities in the Philippines, as required by Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code.

The schemes operated by Delta Crypt, INVEXPERT and TBC all involve the offering and sale of securities, in the form of investment contracts, to the public.

The SEC noted that any promise of ridiculous rates of return with little or no risks should be flagged as a scam. Entities engaged in fraudulent investment schemes tend to disappear shortly after soliciting money from the public, the SEC added.

Those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of fraudulent investment schemes may be held criminally liable and penalized with a maximum fine of P5 million or imprisonment of 21 years or both under the securities law, the SEC said.

Moreover, Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, penalizes those participating in cyber incidents that make use or take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to prey on the public through scams, phishing, fraudulent emails, or other similar acts with two-month imprisonment or a maximum fine of P1 million or both.

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