THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning the public against engaging with groups that solicit investments from the public without a license to sell securities.

In advisories on its website, the corporate regulator flagged Cashdrop/Cashdrop Online Store and Lokal.Plate Corp. as unauthorized operators of investment schemes.

It advised the public “not to invest or stop investing in any investment scheme being offered by (Cashdrop and Lokal.Plate)” and to “exercise caution in dealing with any individuals or group of persons soliciting investments for and on behalf of it.”

In the case of Cashdrop, the SEC said the group has no record of registration with the commission. All it has is a business name registration given by the Department of Trade and Industry.

“Nonetheless, Cashdrop is not authorized to solicit investments from the public since it has not secured prior registration and/or license from the commission as prescribed (by the Securities Regulation Code),” it said.

The group offers packages that supposedly allowed investors to double their money in 15 days.

Lokal.Plate runs a similar scheme and requires passive investments from the public. The group offers franchising for a supposed food service provider called “Lokalplate”, where orders are made through a digital link that franchisees must promote.

The group promises a 15% to 20% earning for every ordered food, and a commission of P3,000 for every recruited investor.

Like Cashdrop, Lokal.Plate is not authorized to solicit investments from the public, the SEC said. The group is a registered corporation, but does not have the secondary license to allow the operation of an investment scheme.

The SEC noted that Lokal.Plate’s articles of incorporation explicitly says it “shall not solicit, accept or take investments/placements from the public neither shall it issue investment contracts.”

For violating the Securities Regulation Code, the people behind Cashdrop and Lokal.Plate may be penalized with a P5-million fine, a 21-year imprisonment, or both. — Denise A. Valdez