THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has denied the request of CROWD1 Asia Pacific, Inc. to have its shutdown order lifted.

In a statement over the weekend, the corporate regulator said its cease-and-desist order against CROWD1 has been rendered permanent when it denied the company’s motion to lift the order.

“A careful review of the (motion) will show that except for its general denials, CROWD1 failed to present any evidence in support of its claim that it is not engaged in the sale and/or offer for sale of securities in the form of investment contracts,” the SEC said.

To recall, the SEC ordered CROWD1 to shut down in May after it was found to operate a fraudulent investment scheme.

CROWD1 has since filed a motion to lift the order, but was rejected by the SEC for lack of merit.

The regulator said CROWD1 solicited and accepted investments from the public in the guise of a digital marketing business. Through its investigation, the SEC found CROWD1 offered “educational packages” priced P6,000 to P240,000 and promised investors several bonuses through referrals.

The SEC said this violates the Securities Regulation Code, which requires that an operator obtains a license from the SEC to offer investment contracts.

“CROWD1 neither secured a secondary license to operate as a broker/dealer, registered as issuer of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds or proprietary/ nonproprietary shares, nor registered any securities,” it said.

CROWD1 is now ordered to permanently stop engaging in investment activities and to stop promoting its schemes online. It is also prohibited from transacting any business involving funds in its depository banks. — Denise A. Valdez