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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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July 12, 2021

A non-bank institution in Georgia called GreenSky, LLC has been ordered to refund or cancel up to $9 million in fraudulent loans, pay a $2.5 million civil penalty, and implement new procedures to prevent future financial abuse.  According to the CFTC, GreenSky’s inappropriate and ineffective controls enabled third-party merchants to take out loans on behalf of thousands of consumers without their knowledge or authorization.  In addition to the financial resolution, GreenSky is now required to verify consumer identities and confirm authorizations before activating or disbursing loans, implement a consumer complaint management program, and properly oversee third-party merchant partners.  CFTC

June 25, 2021

Three Credit Suisse entities—Credit Suisse International, Credit Suisse Securities Europe Limited, and Credit Suisse Capital LLC—have been ordered to pay a $1.5 million civil monetary penalty to resolve charges of failing to comply with swap data reporting obligations between 2013 and 2018.  Specifically, the entities reported the mark-to market notational value of underlying equity rather than the daily mark of certain equity swap transactions.  The failure resulted in errors in the majority of the reportable equity swap transactions submitted to the swap dealer repository.  CFTC

June 3, 2021

The CFTC obtained a default judgment against Florida resident James Frederick Walsh, who was ordered to pay a penalty of more than $500,000.  Walsh, who was not registered with the CFTC, marketed himself through social media as an experienced foreign exchange trader who could conduct retail forex trades for customers.  Walsh advertised that the COVID-19 pandemic created an opportunity for increased forex trading profits,  guaranteed returns, and claimed to have inside information about forex markets.   CFTC

How will regulators respond to Bitcoin’s price fluctuations?

Posted  05/18/21
By Sarah “Poppy” Alexander
Bitcoins stacked with stocks rising
The price of Bitcoin—never stable—has become even more erratic in the last month.  From April 17 to May 17, the price fell 26%.  Such a huge drop would be noteworthy in a stock investment.  But in something claiming to be a currency, that kind of instability is normally only seen in times of crisis and hyperinflation.  Coming just as cryptocurrencies are making a play to be considered mainstream, this latest...

CFTC Whistleblower Program Faces Challenges of its Success: What Whistleblowers Should Know

Posted  05/11/21
Screenshot of CFTC Whistleblower Program web page
In May, 2021, the Wall Street Journal reported (paywall) on “turmoil” in the CFTC Whistleblower Program. According to the article, the CFTC has under consideration a whistleblower award based on a claim by a whistleblower in the 2015 $2.5 billion Deutsche Bank LIBOR manipulation settlement.  Given the size of the Deutsche Bank settlement, the potential whistleblower award is substantial: the Journal reports that...

CFTC: Looking for a Few Good Whistleblowers

Posted  05/7/21
Commodity Futures Trading Commission Logo
When it comes to their respective whistleblower programs, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) does not get the same respect or attention the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) does.  That is largely because the SEC Whistleblower Program has been an unparalleled success, with whistleblower awards being made (and highly promoted) virtually every week or two.  Last year was a record-breaking year for...

April 9, 2021

The Alista Group, LLC, and Luis M. Pineda Palacios, a/k/a Luis Pineda, have been ordered to pay civil monetary penalties and restitution in an action initiated by the CFTC alleging that they engaged in precious metals fraud and illegal, off-exchange precious metals sales to retail customers.  In addition, the government alleged that defendants misappropriated customer funds to trade on their own account, pay business expenses, and make payments to customers to sought to cash out.  Alista was ordered to pay a total of $2.2 million, and Pineda was ordered to pay $448,000. CFTC

April 8, 2021

Circle Society, Corp. and its owner, David Gilbert Saffron, have been ordered to pay more than $32 million in restitution, disgorgement, and civil monetary penalty for cryptocurrency fraud and misappropriation.  First as an individual, and then through Circle Society, Saffron allegedly solicited millions in Bitcoin and U.S. dollars from at least 179 individuals by making false statements regarding his trading expertise and guaranteed rates of return.  However, rather than trading the fu­nds on foreign currencies and cryptocurrency pairs, Saffron directed­­ portions to his personal cryptocurrency wallet and used other portions to pay prior investors.  CFTC

April 8, 2021

A man in New Mexico has been ordered to pay over $10.3 million in monetary sanctions and relief after he admitted to running a Ponzi scheme that spanned nearly twenty years.  Instead of investing client funds in U.S. Treasury Bond futures, Douglas Lien misappropriated over $14.2 million from 45 clients, while charging them over $3.5 million in so-called management fees.  Lien has now been permanently banned from commodities trading and registering as a futures commission merchant.  CFTC
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