SEC flags Crypto Asset and three more luring investors

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has identified four unregistered entities that are enticing the public to participate in their respective investment programs despite the fact that they lack the necessary license to collect investments from the public.

The SEC has issued four separate advisories warning the public about Crypto Asset, Clearway Energy, Inc., Shopee888, and Meta Trading Corp., also known as One Meta Trading Opc.

Janus Alfonsus Alvez Tisalona, the entity’s president and chief executive officer, leads Crypto Asset (CEO). It has been in operation for a year and is said to be self-sustaining.

Investors can participate in Crypto Asset’s programs for as little as P1,000.

The entity offers four investment programs: silver, which guarantees a 5% return in 7 days; gold, which guarantees a 10% return in 12 days; platinum, which guarantees a 20% return on investment in 20 days; and executive, which guarantees a 50% return in 40 days.

The SEC said in its advisory dated Dec. 14, “The money invested will be used by Crypto Asset in its crypto trading through UNLITRADE platform and GPU (graphics processing unit) mining farm activities.”

Meanwhile, Meta Trading is said to have been founded and is led by a man named Mario Bontilao Abellanosa, Jr., who also serves as the company’s CEO and president. The names of those involved with Crypto Asset will be reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, according to the SEC.

Meta Trading is luring investors into the scheme by offering passive income and active income programs, where they can earn “a total of accumulated interest of 550 percent in just 50 days.”

In addition to being unregistered with the commission, both Crypto Asset and Meta Trading are not registered as virtual asset service providers (VASP) with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), and both lack the necessary Certificate of Authority as a money service business.

As of press time, neither of the two CEOs could be reached for comment, and a Facebook search for the Crypto Asset official yielded posts from victims of the investment scam.

Meanwhile, the SEC has identified Clearway Energy and Shopee888 as having investment programs that resemble a “Ponzi scheme,” and the regulator has stated that investment programs under the scheme are not registrable securities.

Top recruiters and those who invested earlier in the scheme benefit from Ponzi schemes. The money from new investors is used to pay old investors’ “fake profits.”

Clearway Energy informs potential investors that it is building a solar power plant in the country.

“The said company claims to be investing in power generation components, from which prospective investors will derive different benefits from in accordance with their chosen investments,” the SEC said in a separate advisory dated Dec. 14.

“Their platform includes soliciting investment for the production of solar panels and the electricity generated thereon will be sold to the government, major mines, and to different enterprises, and from that, their prospective investors will automatically generate profits daily,” it added.

Clearway Energy is not registered with the commission and does not have the necessary license to collect public investments. The regulator also stated that its investment program is a “advance-fee scam,” in which a person promises a large sum of money in exchange for a small payment.

The SEC stated that the entity “does not appear to be connected” to Clearway Energy, Inc., a US-based company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the tickers “CWEN” and “CWEN.A.”

Meanwhile, Shopee888, is enticing the public to invest in its scheme via its website and e-mail addresses shpoe888.com/app/ and shpoe888@gmail.com. According to the commission’s Dec. 21 advisory, investors can earn money by completing tasks based on their “VIP levels,” on top of a “tier bonus” and a direct bonus.

People involved in unlicensed investment schemes may be prosecuted and held criminally liable under the Securities Regulation Code, according to the commission. They could be fined up to P5 million and/or imprisoned for up to 21 years.