SEC sues HPI, others over 'pyramiding scam'

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 05 2016 04:37 PM

MANILA - The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed 502 counts of violations of Repubic Act (RA) No. 8799, also known as the Securities Regulation Code (SRC), against Hyper Program International (HPI) Direct Sales and Trading Corporation, Hyper Program International Holdings Corp., and several others over another alleged investments scam.

Aside from HPI, also named as respondents in the complaint filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday are Business Icon Premier Trading Inc., Darlito M. Dela Cruz, Queen Ashley T. Ablan, Pablito Andal, Aida-Lyn D. Gabriel, Arleen M. Dela Cruz, Angelita Basbas, Mary Jane Terrible, Ernesto Lee Pinera Jr., Bernadette Villapaz, Jasem An Vienice L. Ella, Irene Mercado, Ian Manguera, Mark Anthony G. Ballesteros, Anthony J. Purganan, Maytham Mutadha Akbar Abbas, Mohammad Murtadha Akbar Abbas, Mark Levonne G. Cortado, Marlon Bathan Muya, Tom Arthur K. Dela Cruz, Jeaun Christopher J. Tolsa, Jenn Santos and several John and Jane Does.

The complaint states that the SEC received several complaints accusing respondents of engaging in a "pyramiding scam" or "selling investments to the public at a high interest/profit without secondary permit filed with and approved by the Commission (SEC)."

The SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) sent its investigators to the office of HPI and HPI Direct pretending to be interested investors.

The investigators, speaking to an HPI and HPI Direct representative named "Janet," were allegedly offered several packages where an investor can invest money and earn high profit share in a span of 40 to 45 days. "Janet" allegedly told them the companies' products are a mere front as they are focusing more on the investment program/scheme.

The EIPD then proceeded to conduct surveillance activities at HPI and HPI Direct's principal office at Cabrera Building, Timog Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City, again posing as interested investors.

The EIPD team was told that several investment packages were available ranging from the "Bronze Package" amounting to P7,350 up to the "Triple Platinum Package" amounting to P268,800.

The team was also told that there was no limit in terms of investments, and one can make more profits by direct referrals and indirect referrals from second to tenth level of downlines.

The complaint states that earnings will be via a reward system.
Upon checking, however, the EIPD learned from the SEC Corporate Governance and Finance Department that HPI and HPI Direct are not registered issuers of securities.

The SEC Markets and Securities Regulation Department (MSRD) also certified that HPI and HPI Direct have not been issued Certification of Registration or Licenses to act as commodity futures merchant, broker and/or dealer in securities, dealer in government securities, investment adviser of an investment company, investment house, transfer agent and seller, offer for sale or distribute securities and commodity future contracts to the public.

The SEC said there are 80 complaining victims vs. HPI and HPI Direct, so far.

The SEC said that the scam involves millions of pesos.

The complaint for violations of the requirement of registration of securities and registration of brokers, dealers, salesmen and associate persons was filed on behalf of the SEC by Jose P. Aquino, Lalaine Monserate, and Miralyn Opriasa.