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DOJ indicts Ponzi scammers

Republika

After being flagged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for running an illegal investment program, Organico Agribusiness Ventures Corporation has been charged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for violating Republic Act (RA) 8799, also known as the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).


Organico president and chair Cerrone Roial Posas, along with associates Anthony Butaslac, Karen Maasin, Marve Subere Posas, and Renato Subong, had been what is colloquially referred to as a “Ponzi” scheme, wherein earlier investors receive high payouts with money taken from later investors.


This fraudulent investment scheme lures in unwitting investors with promises of large earnings and miniscule risks, only for those that came after the initial backers to end up with nothing once there isn’t enough money to pay everyone, and the scam dries up.


With enough probable cause from the SEC’s investigation, the scheme heads have been slapped with criminal charges, while the recommendation to indict other associates of Organico has also been given.


Furthermore, back in 2019, the SEC and Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) caught wind of Organico’s questionable business and filed a criminal complaint on the grounds of not possessing the proper license to operate.


At the time, Organico was selling piglets as well as conducting online crowdfunding, which both made promises of high and relatively fast returns.


By offering securities in the form of investment contracts, the company should have filed for a registration statement witht the SEC prior to conducting its operations, making them liable for violating both Section 26.3 and 28 of the SRC.


On May 28, following the SEC and PNP-CIDG charges back then, Organico was served a cease and desist order, while their corporate registration was revoked a few days later.


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