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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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Top Ten SEC and CFTC Recoveries of 2021

Posted  01/7/22
Top Ten Sign with Letters
As we recently detailed, 2021 proved to be a blockbuster year for whistleblowers under the CFTC and SEC Whistleblower ProgramsSeven of the ten largest whistleblower awards of 2021 were made to SEC and CFTC whistleblowers, including a massive $200 million CFTC award that was roughly twice as large as all prior CFTC awards combined.  In total, the SEC paid more awards—both in total dollars and individual...

January 3, 2022

Blockratize, Inc., d/b/a Polymarket has been ordered to pay a $1.4 million civil monetary penalty to resolve charges of violating the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations.  According to the CFTC, Polymarket illegally offered over 900 separate off-exchange event-based binary options contracts, and failed to obtain designation as a designated contract market (DCM), or register as a swap execution facility (SEF).  CFTC

December 17, 2021

Easterday Ranches, Inc. has been ordered to pay a $30 million civil penalty and $233 million in restitution following an investigation into claims that the company, which has since filed for bankruptcy, sold more than 200,000 head of non-existent cattle to a beef processor and falsely reported information about its cattle inventory, purchases, and sales to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in two hedge exemption applications seeking permission to exceed the exchange’s position limits.  CFTC

December 17, 2021

J.P. Morgan Chase entities, including broker-dealer J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, will pay a total of $200 million -- $125 million as an SEC penalty and $75 million as a CFTC penalty -- to resolve claims that firm employees communicated both internally and externally on unapproved channels, failed to preserve written communications, and failed to supervise.  Defendants admitted that employees, including senior and supervisory employees, regularly and openly communicated about business using personal devices, text messages, WhatsApp, and other private messaging, none of which were preserved by the firm, in violation of recordkeeping requirements.  As a result, J.P. Morgan entities were unable to provide information in response to subpoenas and information requests from regulators.  SEC; CFTC

November 29, 2021

Denari Capital LLC and its principals Travis Capson and Arnab Sarkar have been ordered to pay a total of $4 million in penalties and restitution based on findings that they engaged in foreign exchange (forex) pool fraud and failed to register with the CFTC as a commodity pool operator and associated persons.  Defendants misrepresented Denari’s trading and performance in fraudulent solicitations, issued false account statements, and improperly commingled pool funds.  CFTC

November 22, 2021

Two whistleblowers received awards totaling approximately $1 million, with the CFTC finding that the first claimant voluntarily provided specific, credible, and timely information that led the CFTC to open an investigation, and the second claimant voluntarily provided information that significantly contributed to the success of the covered action.  In support of a larger award for the first claimant, the CFTC cited their submission of documents and sharing of knowledge during the earliest stages of the CFTC’s investigation, which focused investigative efforts and conserved government time and resources.  CFTC

November 17, 2021

In relation to CFTC charges against Digital Platinum, Inc. and related entities arising from the dissemination of fraudulent solicitations promising free access to purportedly successful automated trading systems that traded on behalf of clients in binary options involving commodity interests and digital assets, a court has ordered Daniel Fingerhut, Itay Barak, Tal Valariola and Digital Platinum Limited to pay a combined $7 million in disgorgement and civil monetary penalties for violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations.  CFTC

November 8, 2021

United States Commodity Funds LLC, a registered commodity pool operator , and United States Oil Fund LP, an exchange-traded product whose general partner is United States Commodity Funds LLC, will pay a total of $2.5 million to resolve charges by the SEC and CFTC.  USO’s stated investment objective was to track changes in the spot price of oil; however, during oil market turmoil in early 2020, USO’s sole futures commission merchant told USO it would not execute any new oil futures positions for USO. As a result of this limitation, USO was restricted from investing the proceeds generated by the future sale of newly created shares in oil future contracts, creating the risk that USO would not be able to meet its stated investment objective. The SEC and CFTC alleged that the defendants failed to fully disclose these limitations to commodity pool participants.  CFTC; SEC

CFTC’s Largest-Ever Whistleblower Award Edges out SEC and IRS Awards and Acts as a Calling Card for the CFTC Whistleblower Reward Program Globally

Posted  11/8/21
globe
As we’ve reported in two recent blog posts, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s recent award of $200 million to a whistleblower announced on October 21 is certainly the largest the CFTC has ever made, but also the largest award made under any federal whistleblower-reward program to a single whistleblower, including the False Claims Act.  To appreciate the significance of this award, we wanted to give it...

CFTC Whistleblower Program 2021 Annual Report Shows Continuing Strength of Program as it Manages Challenging Year

Posted  11/1/21
Cast metal seal of CFTC on brick wall
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued its required annual report to Congress covering the CFTC Whistleblower Reward Program.  The report details the successes of the program over the 2021 fiscal year.  Created by the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC Whistleblower Program pays awards to eligible whistleblowers who voluntarily provide the Commission with original information, about matters within the CFTC’s...
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