Updates on The Decentra Investment Scam
Are you an elderly person with savings? Do you own a house or any other property? Then keep an eye out for scammers who want to steal your money by duping you. Because they have savings and other assets, older adults are common targets for investment scams. Investment scams can have long-term and devastating consequences.
Investment scams make large payouts, quick money, or guaranteed returns. Always be wary of investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and it is most likely a scam.
Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) arrested 19 people in connection with the Decentra Investment Scam. Two of those arrested were foreigners with criminal cases filed with the Department of Justice on June 12. Decentra is an investment scam that charged its members 349.95 USDT and promised daily returns of $100,000.
First-time investors were charged a membership fee of $99.95 Tether or USDT, in addition to other offers of online investment packages. Decentra’s returns ranged from up to 120 percent of the member’s initial investment and depended on the number of recruits they assisted in inviting and the package they selected. The Decentra officers were arrested in the middle of a seminar at a hotel in Quezon City. Decentra was illegally soliciting investments without a license during the seminar.
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SEC’s Crackdown on Decentra
In an entrapment operation that resulted in the arrest of 19 people, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) busted another investment scam promising fast and guaranteed returns from cryptocurrencies.
During a seminar or business presentation in a hotel in Quezon City on June 11, the combined forces of the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) and the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) arrested Decentra officers for soliciting investments from the public without the required license.
After receiving an email tip about Decentra’s unauthorised investment solicitation activities, the SEC authorized and deputized a team of PNP-ACG personnel, along with the EIPD, to conduct the joint entrapment operation via a mission order dated June 10.
The Decentra officers- identified as Arnel Laxa, Michael Anderson, Arnold Black, Rodolfo A. Asadan, Roberto A Betinol, Fritzie Abalde, Nely Carvajal, Wyndell Español, Jenny A Tampulan, Alice Fabroa, Lawrence Ruiz, Kieth Reñola, Mary Joy Mendoza, Joy Esclamado, Rose Marie Razon, Analiza Narvaez, Warpath Chu, Teodorick Acuña, and Fe Paglingayen– were arrested for violating Sections 8.1, 26.3, and 28 of Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).
Criminal charges were later filed against the Decentra officers, two of whom were identified as foreign nationals, before the Department of Justice on June 12.
Decentra was discovered to be offering several investment packages online for a membership fee of $99.95 Tether (USDT). Tether is a stable cryptocurrency hosted on the Etherium and Bitcoin blockchains that was designed to always be worth $1, with $1 in reserves for each tether issued.
To access reward opportunities on Decentra’s platform, investors must also pay 34.95 USDT per month or 349.95 USDT per year. Members are promised up to 120 percent returns on their initial investment, depending on the package they choose and the number of recruits they bring into the system.
On a US$50,000 investment, a member could allegedly earn a profit of $100,000, or PHP5 million per day. Decentra was not registered with the EIPD as a corporation, partnership, or one person corporation, according to an advisory dated June 13.
As a result, it lacked the secondary licence required by the SRC for investment solicitation. The EIPD also discovered that Decentra was led by former members of Crowd1 Asia Pacific, Inc., whose certificate of incorporation was revoked by the SEC on September 9, 2020 for illegally soliciting public investments.
“In light of this, the public is hereby advised to exercise caution in investing their hard-earned money in such high-yield, high-risk investment scheme, and to take the necessary precaution in dealing with individuals representing the above-named entity, and not to invest or stop investing in said entity,” the EIPD advised.
The commission is actively pursuing perpetrators of unauthorized investment schemes and implementing investor education programmes to improve financial literacy in order to combat the spread of investment scams in the country.
This year, the SEC has already issued 55 advisories against groups and individuals who have been found soliciting investments from the public without the necessary commission license. Furthermore, the SEC has issued cease and desist orders for alleged fraudulent investment schemes against several groups, including RGS World Marketing and the Astrazion Group.
Currently, 364 people are being actively prosecuted in 56 cases pending before various regional trial courts for SRC violations. The SEC obtained 18 convictions against 20 individuals, resulting in a total sentence of 572 years in prison and a fine of PHP25 million.
As with any other type of investment, take your time and avoid making rash financial decisions. Consider hiring an advisor to teach you about trading and assist you in developing a comprehensive financial plan. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions!
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