MANILA - The Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday filed a criminal complaint before the Department of Justice against Kapa Ministry, a religious group that President Rodrigo Duterte accused of operating an investment scam.
The SEC said Kapa and its officials perpetrated "an investment scam in violation of Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC)."
Members of Kapa were enticed to "donate" at least P10,000 in exchange for a 30 percent monthly interest or “blessing” for life, the SEC said.
The SEC said Kapa employed a Ponzi scheme by offering investors "impossibly high returns" and paying them "using the money contributed by other investors."
"This qualifies as a fraudulent transaction prohibited under Section 26 (26.3) of the SRC," the regulator said.
Last week, the SEC said Kapa's "investment scam" was one of the biggest in the Philippines, with up to P50 billion likely collected from the organization's members.
Among those named in the complaint were Kapa Ministry founder and president Joel Apolinario, trustee Margie Danao and corporate secretary Reyna Apolinario.
The SEC has also frozen P100 million in Kapa assets.
Members and officials of Kapa Ministry have denied the allegations. They also appealed to authorities to spare the organization from closure and prosecution.