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SEC-Cebu warns vs BitExpress bitcoin trading

THE Securities and Exchange Commission-Cebu Extension Office warns the public against investing their hard-earned money with bitcoin trading company BitExpress and engaging with Melvin John Ballesteros Quinto, who claims to be a trader.

Lawyer Alma Marie Dalena, SEC-Cebu Extension Office officer-in-charge, said BitExpress does not have a legal identity to transact with the public because it is not registered with the Commission.

“It is not a corporation nor a partnership and does not have a license to engage in investment trading,” Dalena said.

BitExpress promises its would-be-investors of a 150% return of investment in just 12 days, 300% for 20 days, and 500% for just 30 days for its Silver, Gold, and Diamond Complans, respectively.

“We understand some people are vulnerable to this ‘get-rich-quick’ promises from individuals taking advantage of the economic crisis we are facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But we are here to help you watch over these illegal and unscrupulous persons or groups,” Dalena said.

“Please be vigilant and exercise caution in dealing with individuals who promise you big returns in investment,” she added

 Though BitExpress was issued with a certificate of business name registration with the Department of Trade and Industry under the name of Quinto, this is not an authority to solicit money from the public for investment, the SEC-CEO official said.

Only corporations or partnerships with registration and license to solicit investments can engage in such, under Section 8 of the SEC, she added.

Based on the investigation of the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD), BitExpress is not registered with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to operate as remittance and transfer company.

Dalena warned that those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of BitExpress using the internet and other social media accounts and platforms can be arrested and charged criminally including a penalty amounting to as high as P5 million and 21 years of imprisonment.

The public is also encouraged to report to the EIPD if it has information on Quinto or BitExpress through this email address epd@sec.gov.ph. PR