THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued new warnings against groups taking investments from the public without authorization from the government.

In separate advisories on its website, the regulator told the public to be cautious of Lucky Likers Digital Marketing Services and Maxi Trendy Sales Corp./Trendy Unlimited Trading Corp. (Trendy).

It said these groups do not have secondary licenses from the government to solicit investments or sell investment contracts, and are therefore punishable by the Securities Regulation Code.

In the case of Lucky Likers, the SEC said the group operates through social media under the name Lucky Likers Club (LLC). It invites members into the group by paying investment packages priced P500-P1,000.

Once a member, an investor is allowed to participate in clicking jobs where they may earn up to 200% of their investment in a month. Other earnings may be collected through referral bonuses.

Trendy operates similarly, offering investment packages priced P750-P1,500 to earn P100-P1,500 a day. Through the SEC’s investigation, it found that the group provides earnings in the form of watching videos, global profit sharing and referral bonuses.

In both schemes, the SEC said LLC and Trendy are essentially selling securities to the public, which requires that a company doing so is registered with the commission and has obtained a secondary license for the specific activity.

However, both LLC and Trendy are neither registered nor have obtained secondary licenses from the SEC. They may be punished with a P5-million fine, up to 21 years of imprisonment, or both.

In another advisory, the SEC warned the public of a certain Ceazar Pacific Money Lending Co. Ltd., which it said provides lending services without obtaining a secondary license from the commission.

The Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007 and the Financing Company Act of 1998 require that lending and financing companies secure an authority from the SEC to operate.

However, Ceazar Pacific does not have the necessary certification based on SEC records. The SEC said it registered as a partnership in 2017, but its Certificate of Registration was revoked due to its failure to obtain authority to operate as a lending company.

“The public is… advised to avoid or stop participating in any kind of credit activities conducted by (Ceazar Pacific) and dealing with any individual representing it,” it said. — Denise A. Valdez