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News

RELEASE Number

8054-19

https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8054-19

October 16, 2019

CFTC Approves Two Proposed Rules at October 16 Open Meeting

Washington, DC — At an open meeting today, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission voted to approve two proposed rules.

The Commission voted unanimously to approve a proposed amendment to Regulation 23.161 – Compliance Schedule Extension. The Commission also approved proposed amendments to the Margin Rules for Uncleared Swaps – 23.151 and 23.157, with a vote of 4 to 1.

Each proposed rule has a 60-day comment period following publication in the Federal Register.

For additional information about the meeting, including the Chairman and Commissioners’ statements, click here.

-CFTC-

 

RELEASE Number

8053-19

https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8053-19

October 16, 2019  

CFTC Charges Nevada Company and its Owner in $11 Million Cryptocurrency Fraud and Misappropriation Scheme

Federal Court Issues Restraining Order Against Defendants

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the filing of a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, charging David Gilbert Saffron of Las Vegas, Nevada and Circle Society, Corp., a Nevada corporation, with fraudulent solicitation, misappropriation, and registration violations relating to an $11 million binary options scheme Saffron operated through Circle Society.  The complaint was filed on Monday, September 30, 2019.

On October 3, 2019, the court issued an ex parte order freezing assets controlled by the defendants and preserving records.  The court extended the restraining order on October 11, 2019.  A hearing on the Commission’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction is scheduled for October 29, 2019.

“Digital assets and other 21st century commodities hold great promise for our economy,” said CFTC Chairman Heath P. Tarbert. “Fraudulent schemes, like that alleged in this case, not only cheat innocent people out of their hard-earned money, but they threaten to undermine the responsible development of these new and innovative markets.  America must be a leader in this space, and we will only succeed if these markets have integrity.”

The complaint charges that from at least December 2017 to the present, the defendants fraudulently solicited and accepted at least $11 million worth of bitcoin and U.S. dollars from individuals in the United States to trade off-exchange binary options on foreign currencies (“forex”) and cryptocurrency pairs, among other things.  According to the complaint, the defendants fraudulently solicited funds from at least fourteen members of the public to participate in a pool operated by Circle Society, an entity Saffron created and used to perpetrate his fraud, by making false claims of Saffron’s trading expertise and guaranteeing rates of return up to 300%.  Rather than using pool participants’ funds to trade in binary options contracts as promised, the defendants misappropriated funds, including by retaining participants’ funds in Saffron’s personal electronic cryptocurrency wallet and by using funds to pay other participants, in the manner of a Ponzi scheme.  The defendants then lied to participants in order to conceal their misappropriation.

In its continuing litigation, the CFTC seeks full restitution to defrauded investors, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, permanent registration and trading bans, and a permanent injunction against future violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and Commission regulations.

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 appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada, the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Securities Division, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Los Angeles Field Office.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Danielle Karst, Timothy J. Mulreany, George H. Malas, Hillary Van Tassel, and Paul G. Hayeck.

-CFTC

 

RELEASE Number

8052-19

https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8052-19

October 15, 2019  

Federal Court Orders Managed Fund and CEO to Pay More Than $17.2 Million in a Commodities Fraud Scheme

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced a default judgment was entered on October 3rd against defendants Fabio Bretas de Freitas, of Miami, Florida, and Phy Capital Investments LLC, a registered commodity pool operator and commodity trading advisor, for fraud and misappropriation of client funds.

The judgment orders the defendants to pay a civil monetary penalty of $12,608,982, to pay $4,625,166 in restitution and prejudgment interest to Phy Capital clients, to disgorge $5,752,042 in ill-gotten gains, and permanently bans the defendants from trading in CFTC-regulated markets.  The Honorable Jesse M. Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered the judgment.

The order resolves a CFTC enforcement case filed on May 9, 2019, charging the defendants with fraud and misappropriation in connection with commodity futures trading.  Bretas was also charged with making false statements to the National Futures Association (NFA), the self-regulatory organization for the U.S. derivatives industry.  [See CFTC Press Release 7927-19]

The order finds that from at least March 2016 through May 2019, the defendants fraudulently solicited clients and prospective clients to trade commodity interests by claiming they had developed proprietary software called SoPhyA, which achieved profits of 49 percent on futures trading from February 2016 through November 2017 for one of their commodity pools.  According to the order, however, only $155,000 of the $6,894,979 in client funds received by the defendants was ever put into any trading accounts and the balance was either misappropriated for non-trading uses or returned to other clients in a manner akin to a Ponzi scheme.  The court also found Bretas misrepresented to NFA that one of the defendants’ commodity pools was a private equity fund created to develop intellectual property sold to other businesses.  Bretas was also found to have set up a fictitious email account to mislead NFA staff into believing they were communicating with a purported lender to the pool.

In a related criminal case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Bretas awaits sentencing after having pleaded guilty on August 8, 2019, to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and commodities fraud.  [See Case No. S3 19 Cr. 257 (LTS)]

The CFTC cautions victims that restitution orders may not result in the recovery of money lost, because 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.

The CFTC appreciates the assistance of NFA, the Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the New York Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Comissão de Valores Mobiliários of Brazil.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Elizabeth M. Streit, Joy McCormack, Scott R. Williamson, Matthew Edelstein, and Stacie Pan.

******

CFTC’s Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory

The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories providing the warning signs of fraud, including the Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory, which puts a spotlight on a type of fraud involving individuals and firms, often unregistered, offering investments in commodity pools.

Customers can report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the Division of Enforcement via a toll-free hotline 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382) or file a tip or complaint online.

-CFTC-

RELATED LINKS

Order: Fabio Bretas De Freitas

 

RELEASE Number

8051-19

https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8051-19

October 10, 2019

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Chairman Tarbert Comments on Cryptocurrency Regulation at Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit

New York, NY – Today at the Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit in New York City, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Heath P. Tarbert participated in a wide-ranging interview on cryptocurrency regulation and other CFTC agenda items. Full video and highlights from the event are below:

Watch video of Chairman Tarbert’s interview with Yahoo! Finance’s Scott Gamm HERE.

Chairman Tarbert on Ether’s Status as a Commodity:

“We’ve been very clear on bitcoin: bitcoin is a commodity under the Commodity Exchange Act. We haven’t said anything about ether – until now. It is my view as Chairman of the CFTC that ether is a commodity, and therefore it will be regulated under the CEA. And my guess is that you will see, in the near future, ether-related futures contracts and other derivatives potentially traded … It’s my conclusion as Chairman of the CFTC that ether is a commodity and therefore would fall under our jurisdiction.”

On the Treatment of Forked Assets:

“It stands to reason that similar assets should be treated similarly. So if the original digital asset hasn’t been determined to be a security and is therefore a commodity, most likely the forked asset will be the same – unless the fork itself raises some securities law issues under that classic Howey Test.”

On the Importance of U.S. Leadership for Fintech Innovation:

“One of the things I’d like to say because this is my first big public appearance as Chairman is that I wanted to stress the importance of blockchain and digital assets to the United States and in particular as CFTC Chairman, I want the U.S. to lead in this technology. I don’t want another country to lead – I want the United States to lead because whoever leads in this technology is going to end up writing the rules of the game. So then we come to the question ‘well what is the role of the CFTC?’ And it’s very interesting because I think the CFTC’s role is to ensure that there’s integrity in the markets and we want these markets to develop in way that has integrity.”

“LabCFTC is set up to essentially address that potential gulf between a Washington regulator that has historically focused on commodity markets that are very different than digital assets … and also be a link to Silicon Valley and to other areas of the country who are working on these solutions. So LabCFTC is a place where people can come and get to know about the CFTC-regulated world but we’re speaking the same language. I am pleased to announce today that we have a new director of LabCFTC, Melissa Netram, and she comes from Intuit. This is part of my philosophy that you can’t really be a good regulator unless you are hiring people who actually know and understand these markets.”

On the Volcker Rule Amendments to Lessen the Regulatory Burden on Main St.:

“We’ve lived with the Volcker Rule for a decade now … The major problem was that the Volcker Rule was really intended to affect, I think, a very small subgroup of banks, money-centered banks that were engaging in proprietary trading, but it effectively applied to community and regional banks …So we fixed it. The Volcker Rule still applies, the ultimate prohibition, the statute obviously is the law, but it applies in a way that is a lot more thoughtful and streamlined.”

-CFTC-

 

RELEASE Number

8050-19

https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8050-19?utm_source=govdelivery

October 10, 2019

Chairman Tarbert Announces New LabCFTC Director

Melissa Netram to Lead CFTC’s Fintech Innovation Hub

Washington, DC – U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Heath P. Tarbert today announced the following staff appointment:

Melissa Netram, to serve as Director of LabCFTC

In her role, Ms. Netram will be responsible for coordinating closely with international and U.S. regulators and Capitol Hill to facilitate market-enhancing innovation, inform public policy, and ensure the CFTC has the understanding to keep pace with the ever changing financial services industry.

“Digital assets and other 21st century commodities are transforming our financial markets, so it is critical that regulators keep up with financial innovation,” said Chairman Tarbert. “Bringing together regulators and innovators is essential for the responsible development of cutting-edge fintech products, and ultimately the long-term success of our economy. LabCFTC is the agency’s answer to that challenge, and I look forward to Melissa’s leadership. Her expertise and vision will help take our efforts to the next level.”

Ms. Netram brings to the CFTC more than 15 years of experience developing and executing policy strategy regarding technology and financial services issues. Prior to joining the CFTC, she was the Director of Global Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs for Silicon Valley-based Intuit, where she led the development of the company’s government strategy. As part of her role, Ms. Netram led efforts to position Intuit to successfully capitalize on fintech innovations, including serving as a founding member of the Financial Innovation Now Coalition, one of the first DC area fintech groups.

Ms. Netram began her career in financial services at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, with a rotation through the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Following her government service, she joined The McGraw-Hill Companies and then the Financial Services Roundtable, where she worked extensively on the Dodd-Frank Act.

Ms. Netram holds a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Villanova University and a law degree from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.

About LabCFTC

Launched in May 2017, LabCFTC is an initiative aimed at facilitating market-enhancing fintech innovation, informing policy, and ensuring that the CFTC has the regulatory and technological tools and understanding to keep pace with changing markets. It is the agency’s focal point to engage with fintech innovation and promote fair competition by making the CFTC more accessible to fintech innovators. More information can be found at LabCFTC.

-CFTC-

 

RELEASE Number

8047-19

https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8047-19?utm_source=govdelivery

October 7, 2019  

CFTC Files Enforcement Actions Against Two Affiliate Marketers for Binary Options Fraud

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced today that it filed a pair of enforcement actions against two affiliate marketers, David Sechovich and Peter Szatmari for creating and disseminating millions of fraudulent solicitations to open and fund retail binary options trading accounts on websites operated by unregistered, off-exchange brokers.

In one action, the CFTC issued an order filing and settling fraud charges against Sechovich, assessing more than $2.8 million in penalties and restitution.  The order requires Sechovich to cease and desist from engaging in future violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, to return over $1.8 million to defrauded customers, and to pay a civil monetary penalty of more than $949,000.  It also subjects him to trading and registration bans.  In the other action, the Commission filed a civil enforcement action in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii against Szatmari.  The two matters are related to prior CFTC actions in federal district courts in Florida alleging fraud and prohibited advertising against several other individuals and entities.  [See Release No. 7807-18]

As the filings explain, “affiliate marketing” is a form of performance-based marketing that promotes third-party products and services, such as binary options trading, and is typically conducted via solicitations that the affiliate marketer emails to recipients and/or posts on the internet.  According to the order and as alleged in the complaint, Sechovich and Szatmari each lured prospective customers by disseminating fraudulent marketing materials in six marketing “campaigns.”  These solicitations instructed unsuspecting investors to open and fund binary options accounts with “recommended” brokers to get free access to automated trading software that purported to generate astronomical profits with no risk of loss.  According to the filings, these marketing materials included numerous false or misleading statements, including:

  • Misrepresenting that trading binary options would generate significant, even guaranteed, profits while minimizing or disclaiming any risks;
  • Claiming that the automated trading software had been tested and generated profits when, in reality, the software had not been tested, did not work as claimed, and in some cases did not exist;
  • Portraying actors or fake personalities as actual owners or users of the automated trading software, without disclosing that they were not real users of the software; and
  • Depicting fictitious trading results as real.

The order finds and the complaint further alleges that Sechovich and Szatmari each failed to disclose that they received a fee from the binary options brokers they recommended every time a new account was opened and funded as a result of their solicitations.  They also failed to disclose that this fee arrangement was their sole basis for recommending brokers.  Sechovich’s and Szatmari’s fraudulent solicitations were disseminated to and/or viewed by millions of prospective customers, with approximately 25,000 customers opening binary options trading accounts and funding those accounts, usually with an initial deposit of $250 or more.  Sechovich and Szatmari generated profits of at least $3.8 million.

In its continuing federal court litigation against Szatmari, the CFTC seeks full restitution to defrauded individuals, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, a civil monetary penalty, permanent registration and trading bans, and a permanent injunction against further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, as charged.

The CFTC cautions that orders requiring repayment of funds to victims may not result in the recovery of any 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.

The CFTC thanks the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for their assistance.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for these two cases are: Allison V. Passman, Joseph Patrick, Stephanie Reinhart, Susan Gradman, and Scott R. Williamson.

* * * * * *

CFTC’s Binary Options Customer Fraud Advisory

The CFTC has issued a Fraud Advisory regarding schemes involving binary options and their trading platforms.  The advisory warns customers that the perpetrators of these unlawful schemes may refuse to credit customer accounts, deny fund reimbursement, commit identity theft, and manipulate software to generate losing trades.

Customers can report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the CFTC Division of Enforcement via a toll-free hotline 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382), or file a tip or complaint online.

-CFTC-

 

RELEASE Number

8037-19

https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8037-19

October 3, 2019

Registration Open for CFTC’s Second Annual Fintech Forward Conference

Fintech Forward 2019 to Focus on “Exploring the Unwritten Future”

Washington, DC — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that registration has opened for the agency’s second annual Fintech Forward Conference and that this year’s theme will be “Exploring the Unwritten Future.” The conference will take place on October 24, 2019 at the CFTC’s Washington, DC headquarters.

Fintech Forward 2019 will convene innovators, regulators, market participants, and the general public to discuss the latest in fintech developments and the impact of these emerging technologies on markets and customers.

This year’s conference features speakers on artificial intelligence in the 21st century marketplace, digitization and custody, big data and cloud computing, and global perspectives on fintech issues, among other topics. A full agenda will be announced in the coming weeks.

This year’s conference also coincides with DC Fintech Week, Washington’s singular fintech innovation and global policy forum, which is scheduled for October 21-24, 2019.

“Fintech holds tremendous promise for our economy. The CFTC is laser-focused on ensuring the United States is a leader in this space, particularly when it comes to digital assets and other 21st century commodities,” said CFTC Chairman Heath P. Tarbert. “I look forward to hosting innovators, regulators, and market participants from across the country and beyond for an insightful discussion.”

Fintech Forward 2019 will also feature a “Meet the Regulators” exhibit throughout the day, where attendees will have the opportunity to engage with regulators about their respective jurisdictions, innovation engagement initiatives, and other fintech topics.

The conference is led by LabCFTC with support from the Office of Customer Education and Outreach.

Register here for Fintech Forward 2019: Exploring the Unwritten Future.

About LabCFTC

Launched in May 2017, LabCFTC is an initiative aimed at facilitating market-enhancing fintech innovation, informing policy, and ensuring that the CFTC has the regulatory and technological tools and understanding to keep pace with changing markets. It is the agency’s focal point to engage with fintech innovation and promote fair competition by making the CFTC more accessible to fintech innovators. More information can be found at LabCFTC.

About the Office of Customer Education and Outreach

The Office of Customer Education and Outreach develops and implements education initiatives designed to help customers protect themselves against fraud and other violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.

-CFTC-

 

RELEASE Number

8035-19

https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8035-19

October 2, 2019  

CFTC Orders Interdealer Brokers to Pay $25 Million for Fraud in FX Options Markets

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced today that it issued orders filing and settling charges against two interdealer brokers: BGC Financial, LP and GFI Securities, LLC.  The orders find that brokers employed by BGC and GFI on their respective emerging markets foreign exchange options (EFX options) desks made false representations that certain bids and offers were executable and that certain trades had occurred.  The orders were entered on Monday, September 30, 2019.

The respective orders require BGC to pay a civil monetary penalty of $15 million and GFI to pay a civil monetary penalty of $10 million. They also require each of the companies to strengthen their internal controls and procedures, to provide for the appointment of a monitor, and to cease and desist from violating the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, as charged.

“Brokers and other intermediaries play a critical role in our markets. The CFTC is committed to protecting the integrity of our markets by ensuring they are held accountable for fraudulent misconduct,” said CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald.

The respective orders find that BGC and GFI brokers posted bids and offers on their company’s electronic platform for EFX options when, in fact, no trading institution had bid or offered the option at that level—a practice referred to by the brokers as “flying.” The orders further find that BGC and GFI brokers communicated fake trades to their respective clients—a practice they referred to as “printing” a trade.  In addition, when a “flown” bid or offer was hit or lifted on the platform, the screen would flash, indicating that a trade had occurred when, in fact, it had not—thereby potentially deceiving all clients using the screen into believing an actual trade had occurred.

By “flying prices” and “printing trades,” BGC and GFI brokers intended to create an illusion of greater liquidity and, in some circumstances, tighter spreads in EFX options on the platform and induce clients to transact in EFX options via the platform at times and prices at which they otherwise might not have.

The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the Office of the Attorney General for the State of New York.  The NY OAG also announced today that it had entered into criminal non-prosecution agreements with BGC and GFI for related conduct, assessing monetary penalties in the amounts of $7.5 million and $5 million, respectively, and requiring remediation and the appointment of a monitor in parallel to the CFTC’s orders. BGC’s and GFI’s civil monetary penalty obligations under the orders will be offset by monies paid pursuant to these agreements.

The Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this case are Lara Turcik, Elizabeth May, Christopher Giglio, K. Brent Tomer, Lenel Hickson, Jr. and Manal M. Sultan.

-CFTC-

RELATED LINKS

Order: BGC Financial, LP

Order: GFI Securities, LLC

 

RELEASE

Number

8034-19

https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8034-19

October 1, 2019  

CFTC Orders RBC Capital Markets, LLC to Pay $5 Million for Supervisory Failures Resulting in Illegal Trades and Other Violations

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the agency issued an order on Monday, September 30, 2019, filing and setting charges against RBC Capital Markets, LLC (RBCCM), a registered futures commission merchant (FCM), for failing to meet its supervisory obligations, which resulted in hundreds of unlawful trades and other violations over the period of at least late 2011 through May 2017.

The order requires RBCCM to cease and desist from future violations, pay a $5 million civil monetary penalty, and for a period of three years to expeditiously and completely cooperate with the Commission and any other governmental agency in all future investigations or inquiries involving the factual and legal subject matters of this action.

“The CFTC will vigorously enforce the rules requiring our registrants to properly supervise their business activities.  Where those supervision failures are accompanied by other violations, we will pursue those violations as well,” said CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald.

The order finds that between December 2011 and October 2015, RBCMM engaged in at least 385 noncompetitive, fictitious, exchange for physical wash transactions (Wash EFPs).  The order finds that RBCCM engaged in Wash EFPs in order to move positions internally between RBCCM accounts, which was less costly and administratively burdensome than other options to manage risk, and because it was believed that the exchange allowed it.  RBCCM personnel checked with the appropriate compliance officer on whether the trades were appropriate but the officer did not respond, follow up with the exchange, or provide any formal training until at least May 2015.

Notably, as the order finds, 217 of the Wash EFPs occurred after the entry of a consent order in December 2014, which resolved a CFTC enforcement action against RBCCM’s parent, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), for wash sales and fictitious transactions.  [See Release No. 7086-14]  The order finds that RBCCM had actual notice of the December 2014 injunction against RBC prohibiting wash trading, yet the Wash EFPs continued at RBCCM.  The order also finds that RBC delegated execution and surveillance of the bank’s futures transactions on exchanges in the United States to RBCCM, but that they failed to adequately implement a reasonable supervisory system overseeing its futures transactions, and failed to detect at least 385 Wash EFPs.

The order further finds that RBCCM failed to prepare and timely file Risk Exposure Reports, disclose material non-compliance issues to the CFTC, and maintain and promptly produce required records to the CFTC.

The order also finds other supervisory failures.  For example, all RBC affiliates, including RBCCM, must follow company-wide policies and procedures, but RBCCM failed to implement several of those policies and procedures, which resulted in the various violations set forth in the order.  To wit, RBCCM did not have a system to ensure employees reviewed the compliance manual; the compliance manual did not adequately address the requirements of EFPs; there was no formal training on EFPs; and RBCCM failed to adequately monitor for potential futures wash trades.

The order additionally finds that RBCCM disclosed the Wash EFPs to the CFTC shortly before formally disclosing it in its required 2015 Chief Compliance Officer report.  RBCCM, however, failed to timely and fully respond to document requests and subpoenas issued by CFTC staff and attempted to dissuade them from inquiring into RBC’s involvement with the Wash EFPs, even from a supervisory perspective. These actions were taken despite the inter-relationship between RBCCM and RBC, as well as the prior consent order, which required cooperation of RBC in any investigation by the Division of Enforcement related to the subject matter of this action.  As a result, the order finds that the CFTC expended considerable resources trying to obtain information and timely compliance with its subpoenas from RBC and RBCCM.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Allison Passman, Joseph Patrick, Susan Gradman, and Scott Williamson.

 

-CFTC-

 

One Response to “News”

  1. Спасибо за информацию!!!!!

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