THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has advised the public not to invest or to stop investing in R.L. Aggregates and Diversified Lending Group, Inc. after it received reports that the lending company has been soliciting investments without authorization or license from the regulator.

According to the SEC, the company offers a daily interest rate of one percent or a monthly interest of 30% for a minimum investment of P1,000 for a lock in period of only three months.

The company founded by Roberto S. Llorente is licensed to operate as a lending company and is not authorized nor licensed to collect investments as prescribed under Sections 8 and 28 of the Securities Regulation Code, the commission said.

It also said that the lending company had been circulating an altered copy of its Articles of Incorporation, which states that the “corporation shall direct solicit, accept or take investments/placements from the public and shall issue investment contracts.”

R.L. Aggregates and Diversified Lending Group’s original incorporation papers prohibit it from collecting and accepting investments from the public.

“The public should be made aware that the issuance of a Certificate of Incorporation and Authority with the commission as a lending company only grants entities juridical personality but does not constitute an authority or license for the corporation to engage in activities that require a secondary license from the SEC such as license to issue, sell, or offer securities to the public,” the SEC said in a statement.

The commission also warned the public that any investment program that promising a huge rate of return with little risk is an indication of a Ponzi scheme, which just pays off old investors using the money put in by newcomers.

“The public is advised to exercise caution in dealing with any individuals or group of persons soliciting investments for and on behalf of R.L. Aggregates and Diversified Lending Group, Inc. or any entities engaged in solicitation activities guised as lending companies,” it added.

Penalties of up to P5 million and/or a 21-year imprisonment await those who will be caught involved in the investment scheme.

The commission said the names of those involved in the scheme will be forwarded to the Bureau of Internal Revenue for further investigation and for respective taxes to be assessed. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte