THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued warnings to the public against investing in BitThroughCash/Bit2Cash Trading, Inc. and agriculture groups AVP88 Coturnix Egg Farm and AVP88 Trading, Inc.

In separate advisories posted on the SEC website Wednesday, the country’s corporate regulator said the groups have no authority from the commission to operate as investment corporations, therefore are illegally collecting investments from their clients.

BitThroughCash/Bit2Cash Trading, Inc. was identified by the SEC as being operated by a certain Jayson Saquing Pugiao from Tuguegarao City. While its Facebook group or page is no longer visible as of Wednesday, the SEC said it posted on the social media platform a supposed Certificate of Incorporation to earn the trust of investors, but this document is rather fake.

“[U]pon verification with the SEC database it turned out that BitThroughCash/Bit2Cash Trading, Inc. is not duly registered…,” it said.

The SEC said BitThroughCash/Bit2Cash Trading, Inc. is offering its clients two investment options to earn money: invest between P1,000 to P500,000 to earn a 50% weekly income within a one-month lock-in period, or refer others to invest to have a 10% direct referral bonus.

BitThroughCash/Bit2Cash Trading, Inc. is allegedly using the cash raised from investors as capital in casino, forex trading, real estate and online surveys. The SEC said this is illegal as the company is soliciting investments without the SEC-required license.

In the case of AVP88 Coturnix Egg Farm and AVP88 Trading, Inc., the SEC said these are operated by a certain Alberto Vargas Pascual and also operate through Facebook.

Citing a publicity material by the companies, the SEC said AVP88 Coturnix Egg Farm and AVP88 Trading, Inc. collect investments from clients in exchange of a 1.5% daily profit for 120 days including the capital.

It noted the companies’ operations are illegal as they do not have the authorization from the SEC to solicit investments from the public.

As penalty, salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of BitThroughCash/Bit2Cash Trading, Inc., AVP88 Coturnix Egg Farm and AVP88 Trading, Inc. may be required to pay a maximum fine of P5 million, or endure 21 years of imprisonment, or both.

The SEC said it was submitting the names of all those involved to the Bureau of Internal Revenue for penalty and tax assessment. — Denise A. Valdez