Archives for Commodities Fraud

Federal Court Orders Dante S. Giovannetti and His Companies Emini Experts, LLC and Capital Trading Concepts LLC to Pay over $2.7 Million in Restitution and Monetary Penalties for Commodity Pool Fraud and Other Violations of the Commodity Exchange Act

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Paul G. Byron of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Orlando Division) entered a Default Final Judgment Order against Defendants Dante S. Giovannetti and his companies Emini Experts, LLC(Emini) and Capital Trading Concepts LLC (Capital Trading) for defrauding clients in connection with the operation of a commodity trading pool. The court’s Order requires Giovannetti, Emini, and Capital Trading jointly to pay $663,975 to defrauded customers as restitution for their losses and jointly to pay a $1,991,926 civil monetary penalty. The Order also separately imposes jointly against Emini and Giovannetti an additional $140,000 civil monetary penalty. The court also ordered Relief Defendant Capital Futures LLC, another company owned by Giovannetti, to disgorge $143,358 of ill-gotten gains.

If you have suffered investment losses as a result of your broker’s or brokerage firm’s misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to discuss your legal options. The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors nationwide. If you have lost money as a result of your broker’s recommendations, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses. Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation.

Categories: Commodities Fraud.

NFA Bars Christopher Hogan, Thomas Heneghan, Amanda Murphy and Andrey Zhukov of Portfolio Managers, Inc.

Commodities

The National Futures Association (NFA) has permanently barred Portfolio Managers, Inc. (PMI), an NFA Member introducing broker located in Streamwood, Ill., and PMI’s LA branch office associated persons (AP) Christopher M. Hogan and Thomas G. Heneghan from membership and from acting as principals of an NFA Member. In addition, NFA barred PMI’s sole principal Amanda L. Murphy from membership and from acting as a principal of an NFA Member for four years, and its LA branch office AP Andrey A. Zhukov for three years.

NFA alleged that between October 2012 and August 2015 all but two of the LA branch office’s 68 customers lost money, totaling about $1.2 million, and paid over $660,000 in commissions.  A red flag to investors may be if your broker trades your account frequently resulting in a cumulatively large amount of commissions.

The Decisions are based on a Complaint authorized by NFA’s Business Conduct Committee (BCC) on December 21, 2015, and a settlement offer submitted by PMI and Murphy. An NFA Hearing Panel found that PMI, acting through the APs at its LA branch office, made misleading, deceptive and high-pressure sales solicitations, and willfully submitted false and misleading information to NFA. In addition, the Hearing Panel found that PMI and Murphy failed to supervise PMI’s operations and its APs’ sales practices. The BCC found that Heneghan and Zhukov made misleading and deceptive sales solicitations to customers and used high-pressure sales tactics. The BCC also found that Hogan provided NFA with materially false and misleading information, and failed to diligently supervise the operations and employees of PMI.

If you have suffered investment losses as a result of your broker’s or brokerage firm’s misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to discuss your legal options. The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors nationwide. If you have lost money as a result of your broker’s recommendations, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses. Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation.

The complete text of the Complaint, the PMI and Murphy Decision, and the Heneghan, Hogan and Zhukov Decision can be viewed on NFA’s website.

Categories: Commodities Fraud.

Federal Court Orders Cindy and Paul Vandivier to Pay Civil Monetary Penalties and Restitution of Almost $3 Million to Settle CFTC Charges of Operating an Illegal, Off-Exchange Precious Metals Scheme

The Vandiviers Were also Charged with Misappropriating Virtually All of Customer Funds, Using the Money for Office and Personal Expenses

Washington, DC — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained a federal court Consent Order imposing a permanent injunction against CFTC Defendants Cindy Vandivier and Paul Vandivier of Coconut Creek, Florida. The Court’s Order requires the Vandiviers to each pay a $1 million civil monetary penalty and jointly to pay $986,763 in restitution to defrauded customers to settle CFTC charges of fraudulently soliciting customers and misappropriating customer funds in connection with illegal, off-exchange transactions in precious metals. Cindy Vandivier is the wife of Paul Vandivier.

The Order, entered on February 5, 2016, by Judge William J. Zloch of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, also imposes permanent trading and registration bans on the Vandiviers and prohibits them from further violations of the anti-fraud and off-exchange trading provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC Regulations, as charged.

The Order arises out of a CFTC Complaint filed on May 12, 2014. The Complaint charged the Vandiviers and their company, Mintline, Inc., with fraudulently soliciting retail customers and misappropriating customer funds in connection with illegal, off-exchange transactions in precious metals, from July 2011 to at least April 2013 (see CFTC Complaint and Press Release 6934-14). The CFTC’s litigation against Mintline is still ongoing, as Mintline is currently in default in this action, awaiting the entry of a default Order by the Court.

According to the Order, the Vandiviers, through Mintline, solicited retail customers throughout the United States to purchase physical metals on a leveraged, margined, or financed basis. The Order finds, however, that contrary to what customers were led to believe, the Vandiviers did not purchase, sell, transfer ownership of, deliver, or arrange for storage of any physical metals in connection with the financed metals transactions. Instead, according to the Order, they misappropriated most, if not all, of customers’ funds to pay Mintline’s operating expenses and to pay for personal expenses, including animal, automobile, communication, employee, medical, and shopping expenses. As a result of the Vandiviers’ fraudulent activities, Mintline’s customers lost a total of $986,763, according to the Order.

The CFTC cautions victims that restitution orders may not result in the recovery of money lost because the wrongdoers may not have sufficient funds or assets. The CFTC will continue to fight vigorously for the protection of customers and to ensure the wrongdoers are held accountable.

If you have suffered investment losses as a result of your broker’s or brokerage firm’s misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to discuss your legal options. The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors nationwide. If you have lost money as a result of your broker’s recommendations, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses. Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation.

Categories: Commodities Fraud.

CFTC Charges Dania Beach, Florida Resident Rico Omar Cox with Commodity Trading Advisor Fraud

Cox allegedly used websites such as Craigslist to fraudulently solicit approximately $500,000 from investors

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it filed a civil injunctive anti-fraud enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against 29-year-old Rico Omar Cox (aka Omar Negron) of Dania Beach, Florida. The CFTC Complaint charges that, beginning in at least August 2010 through March 2015, Cox fraudulently solicited his trading services for managed commodity futures accounts, and lost most of the $499,000 he traded for or on behalf of at least nine clients.

The Complaint charges that Cox created and distributed promotional materials to prospective clients that intentionally or recklessly contained materially false and misleading statements and failed to disclose material facts, including making false claims about his experience and success as a trader. After losing almost all of the investors’ funds trading, he provided some investors with false account statements to hide the losses, the Complaint also charges.

Specifically, Cox allegedly fraudulently solicited prospective customers on websites such as Craigslist and falsely claimed that he had been a successful full-time futures trader for years and made thousands of dollars and/or returns of 10 percent to 40 percent daily. As alleged, Cox also provided fraudulent trading account statements as part of a false track record that materially overstated his trading profitability and success. Cox allegedly created and distributed to customers false daily account statements and/or screen shots that showed trading profits and account cash balances, when in reality, excluding client withdrawals of approximately $117,000, Cox lost no less than $381,000 – virtually all of the remaining funds – trading those accounts using his clients’ login credentials.

Cox allegedly failed to disclose that he had felony convictions in 2013

In addition, Cox failed to disclose that he had felony convictions in 2013 for fraud, grand theft, and acting as an unlicensed mortgage broker, and he failed to register with the CFTC as a Commodity Trading Advisor, as required, according to the Complaint.

In its continuing litigation, the CFTC seeks a permanent injunction from future violations of federal commodities laws, permanent registration and trading bans, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and civil monetary penalties.

If you have suffered investment losses as a result of your broker’s or brokerage firm’s misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to discuss your legal options. The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors nationwide. If you have lost money as a result of your broker’s recommendations, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses. Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation.

Categories: Commodities Fraud.

Worth Group Inc. Sanctioned

Federal Court Orders Florida-Based Worth Group Inc. and Its Principals, Andrew Wilshire and Eugenia Mildner, to Pay $2.5 Million in Sanctions for Illegal Off-Exchange Precious Metals Scheme

Defendants Ordered to Comply with the Law of the Eleventh Circuit for all Financed Transactions and Show Delivery of Physical Metal to the Customer or the Customer’s Depository Results within 28 Days

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced  that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered a Consent Order of Permanent Injunction against Defendants Worth Group Inc. (Worth) of Jupiter, Florida, and its owner and operator, Andrew Wilshire of Jupiter, Florida, and Wilshire’s sister, Eugenia Mildner also of Jupiter, Florida, who served as Worth’s sole officer and director prior to February 2012. The Order requires the three Defendants to immediately comply with the law governing their financed precious metals transactions and to pay restitution of $1,250,000. Defendants Worth and Wilshire are also required to pay a civil monetary penalty $1,250,000.

The Court’s Order stems from the CFTC Complaint filed on August 13, 2013, that charged Defendants with defrauding retail precious metals customers and engaging in illegal, off-exchange retail commodity transactions (see CFTC Press Release 6666-13, August 13, 2013). According to the CFTC Complaint, Worth sells physical precious metals – specifically gold, silver, platinum and palladium – to individual retail customers throughout the United States on both a financed basis (financed transactions), in which customers pay a portion of the purchase price and finance the remainder through loans from Worth, and on a fully-paid basis (fully-paid transactions), in which customers pay the full purchase price for precious metals. In all financed transactions, it is Worth’s obligation to deliver precious metals to its customers within 28 days.

For fully-paid transactions, the Complaint charged that Defendants falsely represented that Worth would purchase and store precious metals, when in fact Worth merely covered its obligations through unallocated spot forward contracts with third parties. For financed transactions, the Complaint charged Defendants with engaging in illegal and fraudulent off-exchange transactions, in that Worth failed to timely deliver precious metals for a significant percentage of financed transactions, yet charged interest and storage fees when no metal had been purchased.

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act), financed precious metals transactions must be conducted on an exchange, unless the entity offering the transactions – such as Worth – can establish that actual delivery of physical metal results within 28 days. As one federal court of appeals recognized in connection with another precious metals fraud case brought by the CFTC, “actual delivery” requires a transfer of “possession and control” and giving “real and immediate possession to the buyer or the buyer’s agent.” CFTC v. Hunter Wise Commodities LLC, 749 F.3d 967, 978-79 (11th Cir. 2014).

If you have suffered investment losses as a result of your broker’s or brokerage firm’s misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to discuss your legal options. The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors nationwide. If you have lost money as a result of your broker’s recommendations, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses. Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation

Categories: Commodities Fraud.

CFTC Charges Florida Based Oakmont Financial

CFTC Charges Florida-Based Oakmont Financial, Inc. and Joseph Charles DiCrisci with Engaging in Illegal, Off-Exchange Precious Metals Transactions

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a civil injunctive enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Defendants Oakmont Financial, Inc. (Oakmont) of Boynton Beach, Florida, and Joseph Charles DiCrisci of New York, New York, an Oakmont owner and principal. The CFTC Complaint charges the Defendants with engaging in illegal, off-exchange transactions in precious metals with retail customers on a leveraged, margined, or financed basis. The Complaint further alleges that DiCrisci managed, or controlled those who controlled, the day-to-day operations of Oakmont, and therefore, as controlling person for Oakmont, is liable for Oakmont’s violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).

According to the Complaint, from at least July 16, 2011, and continuing through at least July 27, 2012, Oakmont, by and through its employees, solicited retail customers by telephone to engage in leveraged, margined, or financed precious metals transactions. During that period, Oakmont collected at least $2,308,228 from at least 107 customers in connection with precious metals transactions and, of this amount, received commissions and fees totaling at least $735,329. The Complaint also alleges that Oakmont accepted customer orders and funds and therefore acted as a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM), but failed to register with the CFTC as an FCM, as required.

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, leveraged, margined, or financed transactions, such as those conducted by Oakmont, are illegal off-exchange transactions unless they result in actual delivery of metals within 28 days. The Complaint alleges that metals were never actually delivered in connection with the leveraged, margined, or financed precious metals transactions made on behalf of Oakmont’s customers.

The Complaint also alleges that Oakmont executed the illegal precious metals transactions through Hunter Wise, LLC (Hunter Wise). The CFTC filed an enforcement action against Hunter Wise on December 5, 2012, charging it and other Defendants with engaging in illegal, off-exchange precious metals transactions, and charging Hunter Wise with fraud and other violations (see CFTC Press Releases 6447-12).

If you have suffered investment losses as a result of your broker’s or brokerage firm’s misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to discuss your legal options. The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors nationwide. If you have lost money as a result of your broker’s recommendations, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses. Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation.

 

Categories: Commodities Fraud.

Attention Investors in Mintco LLC of Delray Beach Florida

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently filed of a civil enforcement Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Mintco LLC of Delray Beach, Florida, and its principals Stuart Rubin of Fort Lauderdale and Richard Q. Zimmerman of Wellington, Florida. The CFTC Complaint charges the Defendants with engaging in illegal and fraudulent off-exchange transactions in precious metals with retail customers. The Complaint further alleges that Rubin and Zimmerman controlled Mintco and are liable as controlling persons for Mintco’s violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).

According to the Complaint, from July 16, 2011 to the present, Mintco, by and through its employees, agents, or officers, including Rubin and Zimmerman, unlawfully solicited low net worth retail customers through telemarketing and Mintco’s website to buy or sell stored precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium on a fully paid or leveraged, margined, or financed basis.

The Complaint further alleges that Mintco defrauded retail customers by misrepresenting and omitting to disclose material facts regarding 1) the past performance of the precious metals it marketed, 2) the price that the metals would need to reach for the customers to break even on their purchases, and 3) the nature of the relationship between Mintco and retail customers. According to the Complaint, Mintco charged customers commissions and fees that totaled as much as 37.5 percent of the customer’s investment and failed to inform customers that in excess of 80 percent of customers who purchased stored precious metal from it failed to cover their storage costs, interest charges, and other fees and earn a profit on their investments.

If you have suffered investment losses as a result of your broker’s or brokerage firm’s misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to discuss your legal options.  The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors nationwide.  If you have lost money as a result of your broker’s recommendations, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses.  Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation.

Categories: Commodities Fraud.

Attention Investors in Phillips Investment & Trust and Corporate I Communications & Technology

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently settled charges against Terry Lee Phillips of Indianapolis, Indiana, and his two companies, Phillips Investment & Trust LLC and Corporate I Communications & Technology Inc. (the Respondents), charging them with defrauding investors who provided funds to Phillips to trade commodity futures in a designated contract market. In addition, none of the Respondents has ever been registered with the CFTC, as required.

The CFTC Order requires the Respondents jointly to pay restitution to defrauded investors totaling $94,500 and a $140,000 civil monetary penalty. The Order further imposes permanent registration bans on all Respondents, permanent trading bans on the two business-entity Respondents, and a five-year trading ban on Phillips. Respondents are also required to cease and desist from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, as charged.

The Order finds that from at least 2011 through 2014, the Respondents fraudulently obtained at least $113,400 from 13 individuals and entity investors to trade commodity futures. The Order also finds that Respondents misappropriated a large portion of investors’ funds for Phillips’ personal use, and misrepresented to investors — through fictitious account statements and otherwise — that Phillips was achieving enormous profits trading on their behalf, when in fact he was either using their funds to trade the E-Mini Dow Futures contract for significant losses or else not trading at all. Despite many inquiries by investors and demands for repayment, most of the funds Respondents illegally obtained from their investors — at least $94,500 — have not been returned to investors, the Order finds.

If you have suffered investment losses as a result of your broker’s or brokerage firm’s misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC to discuss your legal options.  The Law Offices of Place & Hanley, LLC is dedicated to helping investors nationwide.  If you have lost money as a result of your broker’s recommendations, you may be entitled to recover your investment losses.  Contact our office toll free at (866) 318-4725 for a complimentary initial consultation.

Categories: Commodities Fraud.