THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued new warnings to the public against investing in groups that it said do not have licenses from the government.

In separate advisories on its website, the regulator identified, The Seashore Beach Club, Inc. (Seashore) and MAV Discovery Beach Resort Development Corp. (Discovery Resorts) as unauthorized investment groups.

This means they failed to obtain the necessary registration with the SEC and do not have a permit or license to solicit investments from the public.

“The public is advised not to invest or stop investing in any scheme offered by any individuals/agents/entities representing to be agents of,” it said in one advisory.

“[T]he public is hereby advised to exercise caution in dealing with any individual or group of persons engaged in securities solicitation for and on behalf of Seashore and Discovery Resorts. The public is further advised not to invest or to stop investing in the securities being offered by the subject entities or their representatives,” it said in the other.

In the case of, the SEC said the scheme involves enticing the public to invest P1,000 to P1 million in exchange of daily profits through bitcoin, non-farm payroll (NFP) and NFP investment group.

It claims to be headquartered in the United States and engaged in mining bitcoin, pay-to-click, bitcoin faucets, bitcoin trading, bitcoin lending, binary trading with bitcoin and make money with bitcoin affiliates.

But the SEC records show is not registered with the commission and do not have the secondary license required to solicit investments.

It also said the promise of “ridiculous rates of return with little or no risks” should be a red flag for a Ponzi scheme, which is the method of using money from new investors to pay earlier investors.

On the other hand, the case of Seashore and Discovery Resorts involves selling shares in the membership beach clubs to the public.

Shares in the San Juan, Batangas project are offered at P834,900 while shares in the Coron, Palawan project are offered at P900,000. It promises a profit sharing of 30% of its annual net income to be divided among members, 20% income referral, lifetime membership and certain discounts.

The SEC said this is equivalent to selling proprietary shares or securities, and should therefore be registered with the commission to be authorized.

However, Seashore and Discovery Resorts do not have the secondary license to operate such activity, although they are registered corporations.

The SEC noted Seashore was ordered to shut down in August 2017 through a cease-and-desist order because of its non-registration of securities and brokers/dealers and engagement in activities outside its authority.

For violation of the Securities Regulation Code, persons that are engaged in the schemes of the identified groups may be penalized with a fine of up to P5 million, imprisonment of up to 21 years, or both. — Denise A. Valdez