THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), together with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), has arrested 12 people who are allegedly involved in investment scams.

In a statement issued Friday, the SEC said its Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) and the NBI caught six people connected with SGP Dragon Trading Corp. and another six people under Requiza Poultry in separate entrapment operations in Quezon City this month.

They are now in the custody of the NBI for prosecutorial proceedings.

“There will be no letup in our fight against investment scams. As we remain firm in our commitment to clamp down fraudsters, we reiterate our advice to the public to exercise caution and discernment when offered an investment opportunity,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the commission issued an advisory against SGP Dragon for supposedly enticing the public to avail of purported foreign exchange market products for at least P1,000 in exchange for 1% to 2.5% in interest per day.

Under SGP Dragon’s scheme, “coaches” and “master traders” trade on behalf of investors, with live trading facilitated on its investment platform. The interest income may be withdrawn every 15 days following a lock-in period of 45 to 120 days, based on the package availed.

While SGP Dragon is a registered corporation, the commission noted that it is not authorized to offer, solicit, sell, or distribute any investment contracts or other forms of securities.

Meanwhile, the SEC also warned the public against Requiza Poultry, which was found to be promising investors 50% returns after a minimum investment of P3,500 for the purchase of 35 chicks. Investors in this scheme are made to wait 60 days to earn back their capital plus profit.

Like SGP Dragon, Requiza Poultry has no authority to solicit investments from the public. It is also not registered with the commission as a corporation or partnership.

The Securities Regulation Code states that people acting as salesmen, brokers, or agents of such investment scams may be held criminally liable with a fine of up to P5 million or imprisonment of up to 21 years or both. — Arra B. Francia