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SEC warns against illegal lending firms

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THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public against investing in Almasai Finance and Investment or Almasai Equity Holdings Corp. as well as EMMRJ Lending Investors Corp. or EMMRJ Loan Consultancy Corp., saying none of these firms are licensed to solicit investments or act as lenders.

In an advisory posted on its website, the SEC said it received information that EMMRJ Lending has been presenting itself as a lending company despite not being registered as a corporation or partnership with the commission.

EMMRJ Loan Consultancy was also found to be soliciting investments from the public. The entity however does not have the authority to secure investments, as it does not have the necessary secondary license or permit required by law.

Meanwhile, the SEC also warned the public against investing in Almasai Finance and Investment or Almasai Equity Holdings, Corp., which is being used as an investment vehicle for a non-government organization called Sangguniang Masang Pilipino International Inc. (SMPII).

SMPII has reportedly been getting overseas Filipino workers based in Dammam and Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia to invest at least P50,000 into Almasai Finance, with a promise of five percent yields each month.

The SEC noted that Almasai Finance is not registered with the commission, nor does it have a secondary license allowing it to act as a broker or dealer of securities. The company also does not have any pending applications at the SEC.

Almasai Equity Holdings is likewise not allowed to solicit investments from the public, despite being registered as a corporation.

Both Almasai Equity Holdings and EMMRJ Loan Consultancy were also found to be engaging in ultra vires act, which means that they are doing business that is not in accordance with the purpose stated in their certificates of incorporation. This constitutes serious misrepresentation.

With this, the SEC may prosecute and hold criminally liable those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers, or agents of EMMRJ Lending, EMMRJ Loan Consultancy, Almasai Finance, and Almasai Equity Holdings. This entails a maximum fine of P5 million or a penalty of up to 21 years or both, as per the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).

“In view thereof, the public is hereby advised to exercise self-restraint and caution or more prudently to stop investing their money into such investment activity and to take the necessary precautions in dealing with the above-named entities or its representatives,” the SEC said. — Arra B. Francia