Six more months: CA extends freeze on Mica Tan accounts

The Court of Appeals (CA) has extended the freeze order on bank, investment, and insurance accounts linked to the Maria Francesca Tan (MFT) Group of Companies by six months, aiming to further protect public interests.

Originally imposed on May 13 due to suspected involvement in illicit activities, the freeze encompasses 138 bank accounts, four securities accounts, and four insurance accounts under various names including MFT Group, Foundry Ventures I, Inc., and Mondial Medical Technologies, across multiple financial institutions.

In a decision promulgated on May 30, the appellate court rejected the MFT Group’s plea to lift the freeze and extended the order until November 9, 2024, asserting the necessity to allow authorities ample time to build their case without risk of asset dissipation.

Describing the freeze as an exceptional interim measure to prevent asset disposal linked to unlawful activities, the CA emphasized the possibility that the frozen accounts could have ties to a Ponzi scheme.

Under Section 10 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), the CA can issue freeze orders based on probable cause determined through a verified ex parte petition by the AMLC.

The investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed the MFT Group’s offer of guaranteed returns between 12-18 percent on investments, deemed as interest income, perpetuated through post-dated checks and promissory notes.

Consequently, the SEC filed a criminal complaint against MFT Group and Foundry Ventures for unauthorized investment schemes and misrepresentation in financial statements, further issuing a permanent cease and desist order against MFT Group and its affiliates, halting illegal investment solicitations.

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