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I’m not sure if this should be here or at interpersonal skills but there is currently a company in the Philippines asking people to invest and to me, in my opinion it smells like a Ponzi scheme.

Most of my friends and relatives, a lot of people, have already invested in this and have gotten great returns. And they keep bugging me to join. I told them that this is most likely a Ponzi scheme but they wouldn’t listen because they are actually getting paid out fast.

The only evidence I have that this might be a Ponzi scheme is this warning from the government that says this company is not licensed to sell securities. But when I tell them, the people recruiting me, this... they say its already old news and is no longer true. But I think the warning should have been removed if that were the case.

I think the official website of the company is: organicoagricorp.com

What do you guys think, am I wrong?

If I’m right, how should I convince them to stop bugging me?

Based on Philippine law what happens to the investors who knowingly invests in such scam?

This is currently trending and a lot of people are even posting their money/payout on social media with the sarcastic caption of “It’s so great to be scammed”.


update

I have added the official response of SEC to my question as an answer. If I understand their response correctly, the company has registered as a corporation BUT IS STILL NOT LICENSED TO SELL SECURITIES.

5

From the website you linked to:

"Consequently, those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of ORGANICO AGRIBUSINESS VENTURES CORPORATION in selling or convincing people to invest in the investment scheme including solicitations or recruitment through the internet may likewise be prosecuted and held criminally liable under Section 28 of the Securities Regulation Code and penalized with a maximum fine of Five Million pesos (P5,000,000.00) or penalty of Twenty One (21) years imprisonment or both pursuant to Section 73 of the SRC."

If that is not bad enough, the next paragraph says:

"Accordingly, those who invite or recruit other people to join or invest in this venture or offer contracts or securities to the public may be held liable or accordingly sanctioned or penalized in accordance with the Supreme Court decision in the case of SEC vs. Oudine Santos (G.R. No. 195542, March 19, 2014)."

In other words, if you listen to a friend's advice, invest in this scheme, and lose money when someone disappears with all the cash, you can sue your friend for the money back. Show them that. Before investing, ask them to sign a paper where they acknowledge reading this and still advising you to invest. Obviously don't invest, but show them the signed document when everything goes downhill.

You might also consider telling them that you have invested, so (a) they leave you alone, (b) they are not angry with you if you are the only one not losing money, and (c) they won't ask you for a loan if you are the only who kept his money. And be aware that when this goes pear shaped, it is you that they will blame.

  • I noticed that the company in question is already registered with SEC. Do they still need additional registrations/certifications to be allowed to sell securities? – majidarif Dec 31 '18 at 1:34
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It is a Ponzi scheme. The advisory is clear. You can do only so much by advising your friends, family. It is up to them to act.

There is also a number at the link, call up and inform the authorities.

  • What kind of information should I share with the authorities? – majidarif Dec 25 '18 at 6:15
  • @majidarif what ever info you have. Who is running the show, etc – Dheer Dec 25 '18 at 15:56
  • unfortunately I don't really know anything other than some people who joined/invested. nothing deeper than that. – majidarif Dec 29 '18 at 17:33
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The same day I asked this question here. I also sent an email to SEC with the same question. Here is their unedited official response:

01/04/2019 09:02:01 @ http://imessagemo.sec.gov.ph/

Organico Agribusiness Ventures Corp. was able to register with this Commission on 8 May 2018 under Company Reg. NO. CS201806980 with the following purpose:

“To engage, invest [1], in the business of operating a commercial Hog, Livestocks and Farm Animal Raising Facility and providing services but not limited to hog, livestock and Farm Animal raising management, technical services and other related activities including farm to market service for Hog, Livestock and Farm Animals owners and growers and to franchise [1]. Provided that the corporation shall not solicit, accept or take investments/placements from the public neither shall it issue investment contracts. (Emphasis ours)”

Thus, it is crystal clear from the purpose of the subject corporation that they are NOT allowed to offer, solicit, sell, or distribute any investment/securities from the public as the same requires a secondary license for such activity.

Please note that while recent data gathered showed that the subject company is already registered with the Commission as a Corporation, we want to emphasize however that other than such primary registration, all other information contained in the SEC Advisory posted on 21 May 2018 still remains.

Further, in accordance with the mandate of the Commission to protect the investing public, the SEC issues Advisories intended to warn the public on investment scams proliferating in our country and that based on information received by SEC, there are certain companies, entities and individuals engaged in business operations with apparent indications of illegal investment-solicitation activities.

Do take note that offers of investment opportunities that are in the nature of “investment contacts,” which are classified as “securities” under the Securities Regulation Code needs to be registered with SEC and that the company and individual representatives thereof offering and selling the same needs to be licensed and registered as a broker in securities and salesmen, respectively.

Thus, we always remind the public to be cautious in investing and to make investment decisions wisely:

  1. By conducting due diligence as to the actual operation of the company offering the investment to determine the primary sources of its income;

  2. Avoiding investments offering unrealistic returns; and

  3. By taking into consideration the compliance with the applicable laws.

Moreover, this department is taking the appropriate action against investment scams. Filing of a verified complaint before the Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) of the Commission will be highly appreciated as the same is necessary to strengthen our case against scammers.

Nonetheless, the actions that this Commission shall undertake is highly confidential in nature.

We hope to have enlightened you about your concerns.

[1] Per Amendment approved on 7 November 2018

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