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Fraud in CFTC-Regulated Markets

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraud in markets regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the CFTC, or governed by the Commodity Exchange Act, the CEA. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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January 10, 2020

Richard Carter of Illinois has been ordered to pay $2.5 million for his role in a $1.76 million commodity pool fraud operated by Blue Guru, LLC.  According to the CFTC, from 2014 to 2018, Carter misrepresented the profitability of the commodity pool to current and prospective customers, while misappropriating customer funds, ignoring customer requests to withdraw, and lying to customers about disbursement issues.  Carter's co-defendant, Mark Slobodnik, was previously ordered to pay about $400,000, while Blue Guru was ordered to pay $7 million.  CFTC

December 19, 2019

The CFTC will pay a $1 million award to an anonymous whistleblower.  The CFTC stated that the whistleblower first provided the information through their employer's internal compliance program to another regulator, and subsequently provided the information directly to the CFTC.  Furthermore, the CFTC stated that the whistleblower was eligible for the award even though they did not identify the exact wrongdoing ultimately charged by the CFTC, because the whistleblower's information led the CFTC directly to evidence in support of the CFTC's claims.  CFTC

November 22, 2019

BGC Financial, L.P., a futures industry voice broker and registered futures commission merchant, has agreed to pay a $3 million civil monetary penalty to resolve CFTC charges that the company did not have an adequate supervisory system and failed to adequately perform its supervisory duties, including with respect to its traditional and block trading futures brokerage businesses. In addition, BGC violated recordkeeping, reporting, and other obligations, and failed to inform the CFTC of investigations by other regulatory entities.  CFTC

CFTC Whistleblower Program Annual Report Shows Program Open for Business, yet Challenges Persist

Posted  11/15/19
Screenshot of CFTC Whistleblower Program web page
Fifteen million dollars is how much the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Whistleblower Program paid whistleblowers in FY 2019 according to the agency’s annual report to Congress.  This amount includes:
  • $7 million to one individual whistleblower;
  • Over $2 million to a non-insider whistleblower who provided independent analysis of market data; and,
  • Close to $1.5 million to a...

November 8, 2019

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. will pay $14.475 million -- a $10 million penalty, and $4.475 million in restitution -- to resolve CFTC charges related to the bank's actions in a single 2014 FX forward contract trade valued at approximately $4 billion.  The contract required Wells Fargo to calculate the price based on a weighted average spot rate on the relevant day.  However, Wells Fargo had no system in place to accurately determine such a rate, but rather that inform the counterparty of that fact, Wells Fargo simply picked a rate it believed was in the range and provided the counterparty with a false spreadsheet that purported to calculate the rate but that did not, in fact, reflect relevant trades.  CFTC

November 7, 2019

Tower Research Capital, LLC, a proprietary trading firm, has been ordered to pay a record $67.4 million for engaging in a manipulative and deceptive spoofing scheme from 2012 to 2013.  The Commission found that when Tower traders had genuine orders on one side of the market, they would also place orders on the other side that they intended to cancel before execution, intending to create a false impression of supply and demand to induce other market participants to trade against their genuine orders. The judgment for over $32.6 million in restitution, $10.5 million in disgorgement, and $24.4 million in civil monetary penalty is reportedly the largest ever ordered in a spoofing case. Tower also entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in a settlement with DOJ, crediting their monetary settlement with the CFTC and imposing compliance obligations. CFTC; DOJ

October 28, 2019

Precious metals traders Omega Knight 2, LLC and Aviv Hen have been ordered to pay more than $15 million for engaging in fraudulent and illegal transactions and failing to register as a futures commission merchant with the CFTC.  Despite not being authorized to accept customer funds, Omega Knight allegedly made false statements to potential customers in order to obtain some $5.5 million from at least 90 customers, much of which was misappropriated to pay company bills, personal expenses, and prior customers.  A third defendant, Erez Hen, has been ordered to pay $350,000CFTC

October 15, 2019

Fabio Bretas de Freitas and Phy Capital Investments LLC have been ordered to pay approximately $23 million in penalties, restitution, disgorgement, and interest, for their roles in $7 million Ponzi-like scheme.  To carry out the scheme, Bretas and Phy falsely represented that they had developed propriety software capable of netting a 49% profit on futures trading.  In addition to the monetary penalty, Bretas awaits sentencing in a related case out of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York; Bretas and Phy are also permanently banned from trading in CFTC-regulated markets.  CFTC

October 2, 2019

Brokerage firms BGC Financial LP and GFI Securities LLC will pay $15 million and $10 million, respectively, to the CFTC, and $7.5 million and $5 million, respectively, in penalties under New York's Martin Act based on the admitted practices of their brokers in posting sham bids and offers on foreign exchange options in emerging markets currencies referred to as EFX options.  This so-called "flying" of prices was done to create a false appearance of greater liquidity in the EFX options market. In addition, the brokers engaged in the "printing" of fake trades on EFX options, falsely representing that trades had occurred at particular levels and prices in an effort to induce follow-on trades at the same levels.  In addition to the monetary penalties, the brokerage firms have agreed to additional compliance, monitoring, and oversight.  CFTCNY
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