Fraud word on red keycaps keyboard

Philippines: Securities watchdog warns against Bitbankups, Silverlion Livestock Trading over alleged digital asset fraud

The Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public about the activities of for allegedly defrauding investors.

The SEC issued the advisory on its official website, saying that it had received multiple complaints from victims after they were unable to withdraw their investments. According to the securities regulator, operated by falsely claiming to investors that their platform offers users commissions on deposit and enticed the public to invest in their virtual currency, “BBT.”

Investors in the scheme were expected to invest a minimum of $100 via stablecoin Tether (USDT) and lock in the funds for a specific time frame. Bitbankups offered users profits of 0.8% per day and up to 528% within 240 days while offering incentives on logging into the platform.

“However, based on the records of the Commission, BITBANKUPS.COM is NOT REGISTERED with the Commission AND OPERATES WITHOUT THE NECESSARY LICENSE AND/OR AUTHORITY to solicit, accept or take investments/placements from the public nor to issue investment contracts and other forms of securities defined under Section 3 of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC),” wrote the SEC.

The commission argued that registration is imperative for firms involved in investment-taking schemes to protect them from associated risks. An additional warning was issued to individuals acting as brokers and agents of the firm that they may be criminally prosecuted, facing up to 21 years in jail.

Busting a criminal enterprise

The SEC scored a significant win in its efforts to rid the industry of bad actors after it cracked down on Silverlion Livestock Trading Corp. operations in the province of Zamboanga. The securities watchdog raided the firm’s offices in collaboration with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Silverlion was barred from soliciting investments from the public after being served with a cease-and-desist order for operating without the necessary licenses. The order came on the heels of reports that the company was engaged in the unregistered sale of securities to the public while offering guaranteed returns of 35% in 15 days.

The year 2022 has been an active year for the SEC as it has issued over 80 advisories to firms and individuals involved in soliciting investments from the public without the necessary licenses. In November, advisories were given against Frutal Comida Zamboanga and several firms engaged in digital asset fraud schemes as part of the SEC’s efforts to sanitize the ecosystem.

Watch: Philippines needs to create more blockchain use cases: Amor Maclang, Mark Vernon on CoinGeek Backstage

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