SEC flags down another multi-billion-peso scam

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THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has flagged down another illegal multi-billion-peso scheme perpetrated by the owners of a known restaurant chain of superstores.

In a three-page document obtained from the SEC, Enforcement and Investor Protection Department chief Atty. Oliver Leonardo categorically hinted at Yumboss Putok Batok and Fresh Smart Superstore as engaging in an illegal investment scheme for co-ownership.

In an advisory, the SEC claims to have received numerous complaints against YumBoss Putok Batok and Fresh Smart Superstores for duping hapless Filipinos in what it aptly described as illegal investment-taking activities.

Initial investigation showed that both businesses are owned and managed by one Marvin Juarez Ojeda, whom victims accused of enticing them to become a co-owner of their “flourishing businesses” by investing from P350,000 in his YumBoss Putok Patok or P500,000 for the Fresh Smart Superstore.

The victims said that by investing P350,000 for YumBoss Putok Batok, Ojeda promised a P20,000 monthly yield and 25 percent discount in all YumBoss Putok Batok Restaurant outlets. After maturity of three years, Ojeda allegedly promised a profit-sharing.

SEC presented this computation based on testimonies of the complainants:

Co-Ownership Project Cost: P4.5 Million

·         Starting Investment: P350,000.00

·         Contract: 3 years

·         Profit Sharing: Based on Investment

·         Sinking Fund: 50% Income

Example Computation:

·         P600,000.00 Income 

·         P600,000 x 50% x (350,000/4,500,000.00) = 23,333

·         23,333 x 36 months = P840,000 Return of Investment (for 3 years)

·         Discount: 25% at any of the YumBoss Putok Batok Restaurants

Note:  P840,000 Return of Investment for 36 months

According to the SEC, the schemes involve the sale of securities to the public.

Interestingly, YumBoss and Fresh Smart are not authorized by the SEC to sell such securities to the public pursuant to Section 8 of the Securities Regulation Code. Below is part of SEC’s Advisory:

“The public is hereby informed that while YUMBOSS CORPORATION and FRESH SMART SUPERSTORE, INC. are registered with the Commission as corporations, however, they are NOT AUTHORIZED to offer, solicit, sell or distribute any investment/securities to the public.”

“Such activities require a Secondary License from the Commission and the securities or investment product should likewise be registered with the SEC before they can be offered or sold to the public under Sections 8 and 12 of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).” 

“Both entities were NOT issued such a license by the Commission. Consequently, those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of YUMBOSS CORPORATION/YUMBOSS  PUTOK  BATOK/FRESH  SMART SUPER STORE, INC., in selling or convincing people to invest in their investment schemes including solicitations or recruitment through the internet may likewise be prosecuted and held criminally liable under Section 28 of the SRC and penalized with a maximum fine of Five Million Pesos (Php5,000,000.00) or maximum penalty of Twenty One (21) years imprisonment or both pursuant to Section 73 of the offered sold to the public SRC.”

“In  view  thereof,  the  public  is  hereby  advised  to STOP  INVESTING in  the  investment schemes  being  offered  by  any  individual  or  group  or  persons  allegedly  for  or  on  behalf  of YUMBOSS CORPORATION/YUMBOSS PUTOK BATOK/FRESH SMART SUPER STORE, INC.”

In February this year, Ojeda was arrested by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in an entrapment operation at the Fresh Smart Antipolo City-based hub in Barangay Mayamot.

According to CIDG, Ojeda and wife [whose name is temporarily withheld] have been under surveillance following complaints filed by individuals from who were enticed to become co-owner of their business for a “minimal investment’ amounting to P500,000 and up. However, after getting the funds, the suspects could no longer be located or contacted. Among the victims were police officers and elective local government officials. The CIDG, however, would not elaborate.

An insider who works for Fresh Smart said that the couple has duped thousands – including well-known politicians.

“Taking into consideration the time that the suspects have been into the practice may actually translate to thousands of victims. On the assumption na isang libo lang ang nag-invest, it means may P500 million na pumasok sa kanila. What if we double the figure — that makes a whopping one billion peso fraud,” the source said.  

Efforts to get the side of the suspects and the business entity proved futile despite repeated efforts.

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