The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a money laundering complaint against Silverlion Livestock Trading Corp., after it was found to be illegally soliciting investments from the public.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Together with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), the Commission, through its Deputized AMLC Financial Investigators, filed on October 5 a joint complaint against Silverlion for violation of Section 4(b) of Republic Act No. 9160, or the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), as amended.
The complaint also implicated Silverlion Chief Executive Officer Ryan Cagod Ladoing, President Renan Lara Ladoing, Vice President Michael Villalobos Berja, and Master Bagman John Paul Lopez, as well as Rose Marie Alvarez Guzman and Nena Ewayan Algoy, who were found to be participating in the promotion of Silverlion’s investment solicitation activities.
Section 4(b) of the AMLA provides that money laundering is committed by any person who, knowing that any monetary instrument or property represents, involves, or relates to the proceeds of any unlawful activity, converts, transfers, disposes of, moves, acquires, possesses or uses said monetary instrument or property.
In the complaint, the SEC alleged that Silverlion was able to meet the four elements of money laundering, namely the existence of unlawful activity, proceeds of the unlawful activity, knowledge, and possession of such proceeds.
The SEC noted that Silverlion engaged in unlawful activity when it offered investments to the public without the necessary licenses from the Commission, in violation of Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).
Silverlion was found to have offered to the public P50,000 to P100,000 worth of investments with the promise of up to 2.3% earnings daily, or a total of 35% returns within 15 days. The group also offered a special promo involving the car of choice of any investor who locks in P400,000 worth of investment for 60 days.
Proceeds of the unlawful activity amounted to P17.89 million, representing cash seized during the implementation of a search warrant in Silverlion’s offices in Zamboanga City by operatives of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group, together with the SEC Zamboanga Extension Office last year.
The operation showed that Silverlion had actual and/or constructive possession of the proceeds of the unlawful activity. The law further provides that such amount must be pursued for forfeiture in favor of the government.
The company cannot feign that they lack knowledge of the unlawful activity given the several cases filed against it for the same offenses before the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City, according to the complaint.
“[C]onsistent with the overall scheme of Ryan and Renan Ladoing, and their cohorts, including the other respondents herein, in attaining their end goal of profiting from the illegal acts constituting violations of the SRC, and the seized cash of Php17,888,925 they possessed either actual and/or constructive, there is a clear and convincing evidence that respondents committed money laundering under Section 4 (b) – possession of proceeds – of the AMLA,” the complaint read.
Those found guilty of money laundering shall be sentenced to imprisonment from seven to 14 years, and a fine of not less than P3 million, but not more than twice the value of the monetary instrument or property involved in the offense.
The filing of the complaint follows the revocation of Silverlion’s corporate registration last January for its unregistered investment solicitation activities and the earlier issuance of a cease and desist order against the company and its officers, directors and agents.
Separate criminal cases for violations of the SRC are also pending with Branch 12 of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City, as a result of the inquest complaint filed by SEC before the Department of Justice in November 2022.