Kapa founder, execs face syndicated estafa charges

KAPA-COMMUNITY Ministry International (Kapa) founder and president Joel Apolinario is again facing arrest—this time, for the non-bailable offense of syndicated estafa.

The Cagayan de Oro City Regional Trial Court Branch 21 on Feb. 18, 2020 issued a warrant of arrest against Apolinario, along with eight other people connected to Kapa, for syndicated estafa.

The other respondents are Junnie G. Apolinario, Maria Pella B. Sevilla, Cristobal R. Barabad, Nonita S. Urbano, Nelia V. Nino, Jouelyn A. Del Castillo, Joji A. Jusay and Albert P. Buhangbuhang.

The Bislig City Regional Trial Court Branch 29 on Feb. 11, issued arrest warrants against Apolinario, Kapa corporate secretary Reyna L. Apolinario, trustee Margie A. Danao and promoters Reniones D. Catubigan, Marisol S. Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico and Moises Mopia, for violations of Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).

On Feb. 19 and 27, Apolinario and his wife Reyna, and Catubigan respectively surrendered and posted bail for their temporary liberty while facing investment fraud charges filed by prosecutors at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Selling securities

In separate information, the DOJ has accused Kapa of “willfully, unlawfully and criminally” engaging in the selling or offering for sale or distribution of securities in the Philippines without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Accordingly, the DOJ charged Kapa, the Apolinario couple and Danao of violating Sections 8 (8.1), 26.1 and 28 of the SRC. It also indicted Diaz, Fernandico, Mopia and Catubigan for violation of Section 26.1 of the SRC for promoting the investment scam.

The DOJ further charged Diaz before the Antipolo Regional Trial Court for violation of Section 28. It filed similar information against Mopia and Fernandico with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 93, which then issued warrants of arrest against the respondents on Dec. 2, 2019.

Return for life

The criminal proceedings stemmed from the complaint filed by SEC on June 18, 2019 against Kapa for enticing the public to invest at least P10,000 in exchange for a 30 percent monthly return for life, without having to do anything other than invest and wait for the payout.

The SEC also found Kapa to have employed a Ponzi scheme, an investment program that offers impossibly high returns and pays investors using the money contributed by later investors.

Under Section 8 (8.1) of the SRC, securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines without a registration statement duly filed and approved by the SEC.

Section 26.1 further provides that it is unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, in connection with the purchase or sale of any securities to employ any device, scheme or artifice to defraud.

Section 28 adds that no person shall engage in the business of buying or selling securities in the Philippines as a broker or dealer, or act as a salesman, or an associated person of any broker or dealer unless registered with the SEC.

In a resolution issued on Sept. 25, 2019, the DOJ found probable cause to bring charges against Kapa, affirming the findings of the SEC. (PR)