SEC goes after Emgoldex Philippines; may hold solicitors, investors liable

The Securities and Exchange Commission is going after Emgoldex Philippines and its investors as they are not registered to operate in the country.

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In mid-February this year, the corporate regulator issued an advisory for netizens to exercise self-restraint from investing on Emgoldex Philippines.

"Per verification, Emgoldex Philippines is not a registered corporation or partnership. Likewise, such entity is not authorized to solicit investments from the public as it did not secure prior registration and/or license or permit to solicit investments from the Commission as required under Section 8.1 of the Securities Regulation Code," the SEC said.

"In view thereof, the public is hereby advised to exercise self-restraint from investing their money into such high yield-high risk investment scheme and to take the necessary precautions in dealing with the above named entity," it said.

Despite the earlier notice, fake SEC public advisories from the foreign investment company circulated online. This prompted the Commission to post a disclaimer.

"This commission has received information about the proliferation of bogus SEC public advisories concerning Emgoldex Philippines that bear the SEC logo or appear to have been issued by the commission or signed by any of its officials," the SEC said in its latest advisory.

"The public is thus warned that all other purported public advisories regarding EMGOLDEX that ostensibly carry the name of SEC or any of its officials are unauthorized, fictitious and fabricated, especially if these are not found or posted in," the corporate regulator noted.

In an interview aired Wednesday night on ANC's "On The Money," SEC chairman Teresita Herbosa said those who made the fake advisory can be charged with falsification and misrepresentation, the penalty of which, she said, could go beyond 10 years imprisonment.

The SEC reiterated its official advisory that per its existing records, Emgoldex is not a registered corporation or partnership in the Philippines, and is also not licensed to solicit investments from the public in the country.

"With regard to the claim that Emgoldex is a registered entity in foreign countries like Germany, Dubai, Cyprus, and elsewhere, it is still not allowed to conduct investment solicitation activities in the Philippines without first securing the required registration and license from the SEC," it said.

"There is no distinction whether the investment offering is made through the internet or in a commercial or public place as long as the investment solicitation is indiscriminately offered to the public in general within this jurisdiction," the SEC explained.

The Commission said that any person who is acting as an agent, salesman, investment solicitor, promoter, or endorser for and in behalf of Emgoldex must secure an appropriate license before engaging in investment solicitation.

"Any public offering or solicitation of investment in the Philippines without the prior license or permit from the SEC is strictly prohibited by law and may be penalized by imprisonment and/or fine," the SEC said.

Herbosa also said those who continue to solicit investments in illegal companies are liable, together with the principals. Besides falsification, the series of prosecutions faced by Emgoldex investors in the Philippines also include selling of securities in violation of the securities regulation code, estafa, and civil prosecution to return the investment of the persons who gave them their money, the SEC official added.

Emgoldex Philippines has reportedly been enticing netizens to invest their money in its "Pinoy Style Patak Patak" for a promise of high returns. The company claims that an investment of P1,000 will earn profits of up to P10,000 and a placement of P35,000 will yield a payout of up to P360,000.

The SEC has issued a cease and desist order against the investment company.