The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has exposed a new set of entities enticing people to put hard-earned money into illegal investment schemes with the promise of high returns over a short period of time. In separate advisories issued on May 5, the SEC identified five more groups engaged in investment-solicitation activities without the necessary licenses: CryptoInvestWith.Us (CIW.U), Won Project/ Won Network/ Won Foundation, Captcha Philippines Inc., Fil-Invest, and Xtreme House of Beauty Trading Corp.

All these entities do not have any secondary license to solicit and take investments from the public as required under Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code.CIW.U, Won Project, Captcha Philippines and Fil-Invest are not even registered corporations or partnerships. Xtreme claims to be registered as a corporation, but a certificate of incorporation does not constitute an automatic license to solicit and accept investments from the public, the SEC stressed.

CIW.U guarantees a 1-percent return after six days and up to 20-percent return a week on investors’ bitcoin deposits. Based on information gathered by the SEC, CIW.U is the new name of MAGINVESTKA.ONLINE, the subject of a similar advisory issued by the SEC earlier.

Won Project also pitches investments in a cryptocurrency called WONCOIN, promising a daily profit of 1.5 percent for a period of 100 days on investment packages worth $100 to $20,000.

It also claims to be headquartered in Singapore, but the SEC tracked its main team—composed of Jay Mark Abenir, Mhedel Ponce, Jhomar S. Montoya and Jiaxuan Hoan—as actually operating in the Philippines.

Captcha Philippines promises its “shareholders” a 25-percent weekly return on their investments.

Fil-Invest, on the other hand, entices the public to bankroll its activities, particularly in Baccarat, in exchange for 5- to 20-percent monthly returns. Upon verification, the SEC found the group was not in any way related to or connected with the Gotianun family-led Filinvest group.

Under its investment scheme, Xtreme lures investors largely with direct referral, sales match and pairing bonuses, and thereby encourages them to recruit more members. It promises investors could double their investments in only 30 days.

The SEC warned that those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of fraudulent investment schemes could be held criminally liable and penalized with a maximum fine of P5 million or imprisonment of 21 years or both under the Securities Regulation Code.

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