By James Loyola
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has locked in more than P100 million worth of assets linked to Kapa-Community Ministry International, Inc. (KAPA) under a freeze order issued by the Court of Appeals (CA).
Through the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), the SEC obtained the freeze order last June 4 in an effort to protect the interests of investors allegedly duped by KAPA.
Several banks have initially frozen more than P100 million pursuant to the freeze order, which also covers insurance policies, cryptocurrency holdings, and other assets linked to KAPA.
The SEC said it will pursue more assets sourced from the investment scam perpetrated by KAPA.
Public records show at least nine luxury cars and sports utility vehicles, along with a helicopter, are registered under the name of KAPA and its officers. KAPA also claims to have acquired a hospital, a school, and other properties.
“KAPA amassed wealth through an investment scam, in the guise of religion, and at the expense of the investing public,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said.
He added, “We cannot simply wait for the fraudulent investment scheme to crumble and for the investors to suffer before we take action.”
The SEC issued an advisory against KAPA as early as March, 2017. It also issued a cease-and-desist order on February 14 and an order of revocation of the non-stock corporation’s registration on April 3.
KAPA was found to have recruited and encouraged members to “donate” at least P10,000 in exchange for a 30 percent monthly return on investment for life, without having to do anything other than invest and wait for the payout.
Such scheme constituted the sale and offering of securities, in the form of investment contracts.
KAPA also employed a Ponzi scheme, an investment program that offers impossibly high returns and pays investors using the money contributed by other investors. Such scheme qualifies as a fraudulent transaction prohibited under Section 26 of the Securities Regulation Code.
“KAPA violated the law and must now face the consequences of its actions. Any and all persons behind and involved, in one way or another, in the investment scam, will be prosecuted and held criminally liable,” Aquino said.
The SEC encouraged affected investors to take the necessary legal actions in order to recover their hard-earned money. The commission also reiterated its advice to the investing public to refrain from dealing with similar investment schemes.