SEC to sue 6 in online Ponzi scam By JUDITH BALEA abs-cbnNEWS.com The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is suing six unnamed persons implicated in another online Ponzi scheme similar to the "FrancSwiss," which solicits investments through an Internet Web site. Web domain SMFund.com was found to have been luring victims with an investment plan requiring a minimum input of $10 that generates a two-percent return on investment. Hubert Guevarra, SEC compliance and enforcement director, declined to identify the six. He, however, said they had been running an advertisement on a Baguio newspaper regarding SMFund.com's investment scheme. "These businesses don't have any license. They don't have clearance to solicit. We already have two complainants because they can no longer find their upline and don't know how to recoup their investments," he said. "If you solicited, even when there is no taker, you will still be held liable. Punishment is seven to 20 years imprisonment and P50,000 to P5 million penalty." Meanwhile, SM Investments Corp. warned the public against investing in SMFund.com and sminvestment.com, which "are not in any way connected" to the holding company of mall tycoon Henry Sy. "The SM group of companies [did not] sponsor or endorse any investment scheme in the websites," it said in a statement. "Accordingly, SM Group of Companies, is not responsible for the contents of the SMFund.com or sminvestment.com websites and it shall not be liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage caused or claimed to be caused by the use of or reliance on any such contents." Jamie Aguilar, SM Investments lawyer, said the company will file charges of trademark infringement against the administrators of the said Internet domains. "Trademark infringment was definitely committed by these websites," she said. "We don't want the public to be misled that they can invest knowing that a stable company like SM is behind these," she added. But Guevarra said difficulty lies in tracking down the perpetrators. "It is difficult to find the administrators. We are working closely with the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and police in tracking them down through IP (Internet Protocol) addresses," he said. He said that based on unconfirmed reports, about 5,000 Filipinos have already invested in the earlier divulged scam FrancSwiss. "But we in the SEC are looking between 10,000 to 25,000 Filipinos who have already invested."