The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed more charges against executives of One Lightning Corp., a direct selling and investment firm shut down for allegedly duping clients of P500 million, for creating a new entity to continue its operations.
In a complaint filed before the Department of Justice, SEC enforcement and investor protection department director Jose Aquino said the officials of One Lightning continued to publicly offer and sell investment contracts without any permit through a new company called FDS Forward Direct Selling Corp.
Among those who were charged were One Lightning president Terrence Kenji Ito and chairman Theodore Yuji Ito as well as incorporators Aldus Renier Tubiera, Joanary Roxas and Jake Ryu Oprecio.
The SEC already issued a cease and desist order against the operations of One Lightning and has filed a syndicate estafa case against the company before a Pasig City regional trial court, which issued warrants of arrest and hold departure orders against the respondents.
“Under the pretext of being a multi-level marketing company, the respondents offered huge returns to investors who would participate in their investment program through the purchase of certain cosmetic and health products,” the SEC said in its complaint.
“The scheme employed by the said corporatiom was clearly a Ponzi scheme which they tried to hide to trying to appear as a multilevel networking company engaged in the marketing of cosmetic and health products,” it added.
A Ponzi scheme is a type of investment scam where profits would come from money plowed in by investors.
Aquino explained that investors were enticed by the offer of respondents to pay 28 to 30 percent profit share income and return of investment after about three months.
“In some cases, the products were not even delivered... The company was focused on recruiting more and more investors by offering referral fees, unilevel bonuses and maturity rewards,” he said.