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CFTC Enforcement Actions

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is the United States agency with primary responsibility for enforcing the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and regulating commodity futures and related markets. Whistleblowers with knowledge of violations of laws and regulations enforced by the CFTC can submit a claim under the CFTC Whistleblower Reward Program, and may be eligible to receive a monetary reward and protection against retaliation by employers.

Below are summaries of recent CFTC settlements or successful enforcement actions. If you believe you have information about fraud which could give rise to a CFTC enforcement action and claim under the CFTC Whistleblower Reward Program, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced whistleblower attorneys.

July 29, 2014

JP Morgan Securities, a wholly-owned subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co., agreed to pay $650,000 to settle CFTC charges of submitting inaccurate reports to the CFTC relating to the required reporting of positions held by certain large traders whose accounts are carried by JPMS.  The reports are known as “large trader” reports and are used by the CFTC to evaluate potential market risks and monitor compliance with CFTC requirements.  The reporting violations occurred despite the CFTC notifying JPMS of numerous errors in its reports.  CFTC

July 28, 2014

The CFTC issued an Order against Lloyds Banking Group and Lloyds Bank for false reporting and attempted manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) for Sterling, U.S. Dollar, and Yen. The CFTC also brought and settled charges that Lloyds aided and abetted the attempts of derivatives traders at Rabobank to manipulate Yen LIBOR.  The Order requires Lloyds Banking Group and Lloyds Bank to pay a $105M civil monetary penalty, cease and desist from their violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, and to adhere to specific undertakings to ensure the integrity of LIBOR submissions in the future.  CFTC

July 18, 2014

The CFTC filed an amended Complaint against Missouri resident Daniel K. Steele and his firm Champion Management International charging them with misappropriation, issuance of false account statements, and other acts of fraudulent solicitation and concealment relating to their solicitation of investments in foreign currency (forex) pools.  The amended Complaint follows a CFTC complaint against them filed in September 2013.  The amended Complaint further alleges that Steele knowingly made material misrepresentations to actual and prospective pool participants concerning Defendants’ forex trading and trading results.  The amended Complaint also alleges that Steele concealed trading losses, misappropriated approximately $1 million of pool participants’ funds for personal use, and issued false account statements to pool participants reflecting that they were earning profits when instead Steele was misappropriating the majority of their funds, all in violation of Section 4b of the Commodities Exchange Act.  CFTC

June 19, 2014

The CFTC obtained a court Order requiring Texas resident Robert J. Andres and his company Winsome Investment Trust and California resident Robert L. Holloway and his company US Ventures LC to pay a civil penalty of $32M and restitution for defrauded customers totaling $12M for their fraud in the operation of a commodity futures pool.  Specifically, the Order found that the defendants fraudulently solicited and accepted at least $50M from at least 243 individuals to invest in a commodity futures pool by falsely claiming successful track record and guaranteeing the return of participants’ principal and profits.  In reality, however, their futures trading was not successful, sustaining overall net losses of approximately $10.7 million and they operated it like a Ponzi scheme and used participants' funds to pay personal and unrelated business expenses, and to pay for houses, cars, home furnishings, jewelry, lawn and maid services, and credit card bills.  In parallel criminal actions, Andres and Holloway were indicted on multiple counts of wire fraud.  CFTC

June 11, 2014

The CFTC obtained a default judgment against Michael James Seward, Yan Kaziyev and their company SK Madison Commodities, a Commodity Pool Operator based in New York City, requiring them to pay restitution totaling $1M and a civil penalty of $2.5M for fraudulently soliciting more than $1.3M from members of the public to trade futures in a commodity pool.  Specifically, the defendants were found to have misrepresented their trading practices and historical trading returns and prepared and distributed to pool participants false account statements and performance reports showing huge profits when in reality they were losing money and diverting large amounts of pool participants’ funds for their own use.  CFTC

May 22, 2014

The CFTC obtained an Order against four Hunter Wise related companies and their owners on charges they had fraudulently misrepresented the nature of precious metals transactions that resulted in millions of dollars in customer losses.  Hunter Wise Commodities, Hunter Wise Services, Hunter Wise Credit and Hunter Wise Trading and the individuals running the companies, Fred Jager and Harold Edward Martin, have been ordered to pay $52.6M in restitution to the defrauded customers and to pay a civil penalty of $55.4M.  The Order found that Jager and Martin knowingly defrauded more than 3,200 retail customers for more than 16 months in a manner that was “repeated, callous and blatant.”  CFTC

May 21, 2014

The CFTC obtained an emergency court Order freezing and preserving the assets under the control of Cindy and Paul Vandivier and their company, Mintline, Inc., all of Florida.  The Order stems from a CFTC enforcement action charging the Vandiviers and Mintline with fraudulently soliciting customers and misappropriating customer funds in connection with illegal, off-exchange transactions in precious metals from July 2011 to at least April 2013.  CFTC

May 19, 2014

The CFTC issued an Order filing and simultaneously settling charges that Global Futures & Forex, Ltd., a CFTC-registered Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) and former Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer (RFED) headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, failed to comply with minimum financial requirements for FCMs and RFEDs. The CFTC Order imposes a $200,000 civil penalty and a cease and desist order against GFF for its violations.  CFTC

May 15, 2014

The CFTC issued an Order against RP Martin Holdings Limited, and its subsidiary, Martin Brokers (UK) Limited, an interdealer broker, filing and settling charges of manipulation, attempted manipulation, false reporting, and aiding and abetting derivatives traders’ acts of manipulation and attempted manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) for Yen.  The CFTC Order requires RP Martin to pay a $1.2M civil penalty.  CFTC

May 2, 2014

The CFTC obtained a restraining order freezing assets and prohibiting the destruction or concealment of books and records of EJS Capital Management, Alex Vladimir Ekdeshman and Edward J. Servider.  The order arises out of a Complaint the CFTC filed charging them with fraudulent solicitation of more than $2M, misappropriation of most of those funds, issuing false account statements, and registration violations in an ongoing retail foreign currency (forex) fraud scheme.  CFTC
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