THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a criminal complaint against Kapa-Community Ministry International, Inc. along with its president Joel A. Apolinario and seven others before the Department of Justice for alleged involvement in an investment scam.

In a press release, the SEC said it filed a criminal complaint against KAPA, Mr. Apolinario, trustee Margie A. Danao, and Corporate Secretary Reyna L. Apolinario, among others, “for perpetrating an investment scam” in violation of Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC). Respondents Marisol M. Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico, Moises Mopia, Catherine Evangelista, and Rene Catubigan were included “for promoting the investment scam.”

SEC said “(i)t will name more respondents as it identifies other persons who have participated in the unlawful public offering and/or selling of securities by KAPA.”

SEC said it found KAPA enticing the public to “donate” at least P10,000 in exchange for 30% monthly return referred to as “blessing” or “love gift” for life. It added that the scheme “involved sale and offering for sale or distribution to the public of securities, in form of investment contracts.”

The commission said KAPA violated Sections 8 (8.1) and 28 of the SRC which prohibits selling or offering of securities and engaging in buying or selling of securities as broker or dealer, respectively, unless registered and approved by the SEC.

SEC also said KAPA violated Section 26 (26.3) of the SRC by employing a Ponzi scheme, offering high returns.

Convicted violators face a maximum fine of P5 million or imprisonment of seven to 21 years or both.

The Court of Appeals issued a freeze order on June 4 on assets linked to the organization following a petition filed by the SEC through the Anti-Money Laundering Council. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas