CFTC slap $32 million in fines on 'FX swindlers'

LOSSES & LAWSUITS

The businesses – the International Funding Association and Global Management Group, from Arizona, and Cambridge Global Group – were fined $32 million.

The fines amount to the settling of a debt that was raised when Holt was initially found guilty of defrauding customers in 2003.

Gregory Mocek, director of the CFTC's division of enforcement, said the case demonstrates the high priority placed on pursuing "foreign currency swindlers" and freezing their assets to give back to retail victims. However, he said customers also need to be aware of the dangers: "Customers should not enter into investments with blindfolds on and expect that everyone in the market-place is legitimate," he said.

The CFTC charged that since 1997, Holt and his businesses fraudulently solicited around $25 million from roughly 2,500 clients for trading futures contracts, including foreign currencies. These included using false claims that he achieved investment returns of 7–10% per month.

The order also found that the defendants traded illegal futures contracts and misappropriated at least $14 million of the clients' $25 million.

The commission said the defendants used the funds to purchase residential property and various items. They were held to be jointly and severally liable to pay a judgment totalling nearly $32 million. This comprises over $14 million for repayment to defrauded customers, around $1.5 million in interest and approximately $16 million in monetary penalties. OR&C

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