SEC files criminal complaint against 4 companies

SEC files criminal complaint against 4 companies

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has brought Astral Fuel Station Corporation, Apollo Drugstore and Diagnostics Center, Inc., One Oasis Premier Holdings Corporation, and Kalahari Leisure Farm Club, Inc. before the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution for conducting unauthorized investment solicitation activities.

The SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) on June 2 filed a criminal complaint against Astral Fuel and Apollo for soliciting investments from the public without the proper license from the SEC, in violation of Republic Act No. 8799 or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC). As such, the EIPD charged Astral Fuel, Apollo Inc., One Oasis, and Kalahari for violation of Sections 8.1, 26, 28, and 51.3 of the SRC.

The Commission implicated Astral Fuel and Apollo President and Chairman Ramon Julius Grajo, who was found to have established two other companies, namely One Oasis and Kalahari.

Also implicated in the complaint were other beneficial owners, directors, and officials of the companies including Renato P. Grajo, Roberto P. Grajo, Ma. Michaela Arceo, Aiko J. Basas, Arnel Kevin Besa, Joy Ann Chu, Jess Tony Cruz, Ryan Ace Ducado, Roderick Fabia, Ricky Macalino, John Lorenz Rosario, Arnaldo Zapata, Sherwin Abuel, Cindy Alcalde, Patrick Averia, Jacqueline F. Asis, Monette Basa, Reyvee Bataan, Snooky Benzal, Omar Bolus, Salvacion Caraang, Geraldine Colinares, Dwayne Ramos Coma, Snooky Dela Cruz, Philip Detera, Lynnette R. Ebdane, Federico Esquivel, Edwin Evangelista, Ronald Facun, Nilda Gelua, Alma Gutierrez, Leonardo Leonor, Florante Manzano, Mark Laurence, Rico Bryan Oncoy, Manuel Orias, Marne Organo, Rosemin Orino, Bernard V. Padilla, Cedric Palominique, Marlon Pedrera, Yron Recodo, Marian Roxas, Joana Santos, Ricky Santos, May Sicat, Juana Tadiang, Maverick Ternate, Bon Yatco Vergerie, and Theresa Yambao.

The case stemmed from various inquiries from the public on March 2021 regarding the legality of Astral Fuel and Apollo soliciting investments from the public.

On September 23, 2021, the EIPD posted an advisory on the SEC website, warning the public against investing in Apollo. The Commission has since received several complaint-affidavits from the public stating that Astral Fuel and Apollo conducted investment solicitation activities through social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Google which were verified by the EIPD.

The SRC prohibits the sale or distribution of securities in the Philippines without a registration duly filed with and approved by the Commission. Brokers engaged in the business of buying or selling securities are likewise required to be registered with the SEC.

Although both Apollo and Astral Fuel are registered with the Commission, neither have the required license to solicit investments nor have they filed for such with the SEC.

The Commission also noted that Apollo and Astral Fuel were mere conduits to solicit investments from the public, as a review of their registration documents submitted to the SEC revealed that the companies have interlocking directors and common incorporators, stockholders, and officers.

All the companies were likewise found to have the same office address, with Ramon Julius Grajo serving as president, incorporator, and director, and One Oasis owning 99.99% of the total authorized capital stock of Apollo.

“It is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Office that probable cause against [Astral Fuel], [Apollo Inc.], [Kalahari], [One Oasis], and the officers, directors, agents, salesmen, and investment solicitors be found and they are charged for violations of Sections 8.1, 26, 28, and 51.3 of the SRC, in relation, Section 73 of the SRC and the corresponding criminal information for said offenses be filed in court,” the complaint read. ### (PR)