THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is advising the public against investing in four companies which have been operating without proper licenses.

The SEC issued advisories against Max4Unlimited Co.; Max4 Unli Corp.; Lion City Finance Group, Inc.; and Hybrid Gamefowl Holdings, Inc., which it identified as groups engaged in the unlicensed solicitation of investments from the public.

It said Max4Unlimited and Max4 Unli are both registered with the SEC as a partnership and as a corporation, respectively, that are supposed to be in the business of trading goods, commodities, wares and merchandise.

However, neither of them have licenses to offer or sell securities. The SEC said the two companies have been collecting investments from the public in exchange of a 50% return on investment every six months.

The SEC also flagged the operations of Lion City, which was found to offer a “pure passive income of 10% interest or more per month.” The investment it collects from the public is supposedly for real estate, foreign exchange, cars and casino financing.

But the SEC noted the Articles of Incorporation of Lion City states it is a financing company that offers credit facilities for industrial, commercial and/or agricultural enterprises. It also showed the company “shall not solicit, accept or take investments/placements from the public (and) neither shall it issue investment contracts.”

Hybrid Gamefowl likewise solicits investments from the public without a license but through a different scheme that involves texas chicken. It entices the public to pay at least P998 for two “Texas chickens,” which will not be delivered to the buyer, who instead will get a return of P3,000 after 90 days.

The SEC said while Hybrid Gamefowl is registered with the Commission, it does not have a license to offer or sell securities, which the government requires from companies that seek to operate as investment firms.

Under Section 8 of the Securities Regulation Code, securities shall not be publicly offered for sale or distribution in the Philippines without a registration statement filed with and approved by the SEC.

The SEC said these companies’ salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents that are found to have been soliciting investments or recruiting investors face a maximum fine of P5 million or a 21-year imprisonment. — Denise A. Valdez