The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning the public on unauthorized investments surrounding cryptocurrency trading and online selling – specifically noting Forsage, RCashOnline, and the Saint John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta Foundation of the Philippines, Inc.
The SEC is also warning those that act as salesmen, brokers, dealers, or agents of the entities above that they are violating the Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code, among others. As a consequence, they may be fined a maximum of PHP 5 million or imprisonment of 21 years in prison or both. Additionally, the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act also punishes those that make use or take advantage of the current crisis to prey on the public through scams, phishing, fraud, or other similar acts.
Forsage claims to be a Crowdfunding International Platform or a Smart Contract Crypto Earning Program based on the blockchain technology Ethereum. They claim to provide active and passive income to investors through a crowdfunding referral system and an investment contract in the form of their Smart Contracts. They offer two compensation plans called the Forsage X3 and Forsage X4, which requires users to pay 0.05 ETH (around PHP 600) to 51.2 ETH (PHP 600,000).
The SEC states that Forsage does not have the necessary licenses to sell or offer investment contracts to the public. It also does not appear in the list of virtual currency exchanges registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Lastly, Forsage’s compensation plan resembles a Ponzi scheme, as investors are required to recruit new investors to receive compensation.
Similar to Forsage, RCash Online is another Ponzi scheme that relies on recruiting members for monetary rewards. They have several business packages that include Royale products, starting at PHP 18,660 for one account to a maximum of PHP 130,620 for seven accounts with a PHP 1 million insurance.
The people that manage RCashOnline are the same group operating OnlineBiz and ELITE Entrep Blue Print, which have also been subjects of previous SEC advisories.
The Saint John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta Foundation
This group, in particular, does not require any membership fee and promises PHP 5,000 worth of grocery items every month. Additionally, they offer 21-year-old male agriculture students and graduates an all-expense-paid training with USD 1,000 allowance in Israel for six months, in exchange for personal information. Additionally, they claim to soon purchase a 100 hectare land for future housing/agricultural projects.
The SEC has revoked this group’s certificate of registration since February 2003 for noncompliance with its reportorial requirements.
Read the SEC’s full press release here.