SEC flags three online lending companies, warns public about Leefire
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public about the illegal operations of three online lending companies and an unauthorized investment firm.
In a notice released Thursday, the SEC ordered the three online lending operators to cease operations without the necessary approval from the commission, and to end their abusive collection practices.
The commission en banc, in an order issued on April 26, ordered Golden Cash, Help Cash and Grace Cash to immediately cease and desist from engaging in, performing, promoting and facilitating any activity or transaction loans until they have obtained the necessary registration and license from the Commission.
“[T]The commission finds that the continued operations of Golden Cash, Help Cash and Grace Cash constitute a clear violation of, and should be sanctioned,” the SEC said, adding that they engage in and conduct lending activity without the license. required from the regulator. .
The commission also ordered online lending operators to stop offering and advertising their lending business via the internet or any other media, and to remove material implicating them.
The SEC issued the order after finding that the three loan companies are not registered as companies with the commission.
“Additional findings from the SEC’s Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) found that online lending operators engaged in unfair collection practices,” according to the notice.
SIFT reported that online lending operators harass, threaten, publicly humiliate their respective borrowers and charge hidden fees and excessive processing fees.
“The acts of these unregistered online lending operators of illegally offering and providing loans to the public, charging high interest rates and subjecting its debtors to unfair treatment through abusive and even defamatory language in the collecting the amount loaned…have no place in a society that is governed by and faithfully adheres to positive laws,” the SEC said.
In a separate notice, the SEC warned the public against Leefire Philippines, an unauthorized investment company, for inducing the public to invest in the company without a license or registration.
The commission said the entity was not registered as a corporation or partnership and was not authorized to solicit investments, as it had not obtained prior registration or licensing.
“Furthermore, given that Leefire is also promising its investors to receive its native cryptocurrency ‘LFC coin’ in an apparent initial coin offering (ICO), it is likely to once again remind the public that a ICO is the first sale and issuance of a new virtual currency to the public, usually for the purpose of raising capital for start-up companies or funding independent projects,” the SEC said.
The commission said the rogue firm was seeking to use the money it raised from the public to fund its alleged project on the promise of profits.
“Based on the content of publications found online, Leefire is offering investments to the public through a mobile application available on Google Play Store. Registration through a personal mobile number will enable investors to receive a cash bonus of P120 which can be used to purchase the corresponding level of goods,” the notice read.
The SEC has stated that any sellers, brokers, dealers or agents involved in selling or inducing individuals to invest in Leefire may be prosecuted and held criminally liable.
Penalties include a maximum fine of 5 million pula or up to 21 years imprisonment.
“The public is advised not to invest or stop investing in any investment program offered by any individual or group of persons purportedly for or on behalf of Leefire Philippines, and to exercise caution in their dealings with any individual or group of persons soliciting investments for and on its behalf,” the commission added. Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson