SEC to public: Don't trust 'get rich quick' schemes

by Kathleen A. Martin,

Posted at Nov 15 2012 02:08 PM | Updated as of Nov 15 2012 11:53 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A 'get rich quick' scheme should already cause wariness among investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission said, amid the ongoing investigation of Aman Futures, the trading firm allegedly behind a P12-billion scam.

"Unfortunately, a lot of our fellow Filipinos fall victims to schemes like these... One thing we would see is they (the schemes) would always focus on the high returns," Gerard Lukban, commission secretary of the SEC, told ANC Primetime Tuesday night.

"They are more or less 'get rich quick' schemes and that's already a red flag," Lukban added.

Filipinos are enticed to put their money in various companies with the promise of a high return after investing money for only a couple of weeks.

Lukban recounted some Filipinos never learn despite various scams that exploded in early 2000s such as the Baladjay-Multitel scam wherein close to a million were swindled of millions of pesos.

"The brokers or the ones selling the investment contract would try to sell it and emphasize the high returns. Sometimes, they tell investors that this is a new promo so you better put your investments in ASAP," Lukban said.

"They would really put pressure in getting the investments and would even try to involve famous personalities, from politicians to celebrities to members of the police," he added.

Before investing money, one should first look up the viability of the firm and make sure it has been allowed by the SEC to conduct such kind of business, Lukban said.

"We do have our database wherein you can check whether these companies trying to sell investment contracts or securities would have the authority to do so," he said. 

"We've been trying to remind the public consistently and as a matter of fact we've also sent out our personnel to go around the Philippines doing talks reminding them about scams," he continued.

Previous masterminds behind pyramid scams have already been put behind bars although some remain at large, Lukban shared. The return of an investor's money, meanwhile, is uncertain despite prosecution of firms behind the scams.

Government agencies are currently investigating trading firm Aman Futures after thousands in the Visayas and Mindanao fell victim to the company's get rich quick scam.

Lukban said the SEC more than a month ago has given a cease and desist order to the company after receiving complaints of illegal sale of securities. Aman Futures was registered at the SEC in June this year with a primary purpose of trading physical goods.