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Enforcement

  • Office of the Director

    The Division of Enforcement investigates and prosecutes alleged violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA or Act) and Commission regulations. For example, the Division brings enforcement actions against: individuals and firms registered with the Commission; those who violate these laws in connection with their trading commodity futures and options on designated domestic exchanges; those who improperly market futures and options contracts to retail investors or perpetrate Ponzi schemes; those who use manipulative or deceptive schemes in connection with commodities, futures or swaps; and those who engage in disruptive trading practices. The Division undertakes these activities under the management and direction of the Office of the Director.

    The Division bases investigations on information it develops independently, as well as information provided by other Commission Divisions, industry self-regulatory associations, state, federal, and international authorities, and members of the public. At the conclusion of an investigation, the Division may recommend that the Commission initiate administrative proceedings or seek injunctive and ancillary relief on behalf of the Commission in United States District Courts around the country. Administrative sanctions may include orders imposing civil monetary penalties, suspending, denying, revoking or restricting registration and exchange trading privileges, and orders of restitution. The Commission also may obtain temporary restraining orders and preliminary and permanent injunctions in Federal court to halt ongoing violations. Other relief may include appointment of a receiver, a freeze of assets, restitution, and disgorgement of unlawfully acquired benefits. The CEA also provides that the Commission may obtain certain temporary relief on an ex parte basis (that is, without notice to the other party). When those enjoined violate court orders, the Division may seek to have the offenders held in contempt.

    When the Division obtains evidence that criminal violations of the CEA have occurred, it may refer the matter to the Department of Justice for prosecution. Criminal activity involving commodity-related instruments can result in prosecution for criminal violations of the CEA and for violations of other federal criminal statutes, including commodities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy.

    The Division provides expert help and technical assistance with case development and trials to U.S. Attorneys' Offices, other Federal and state law enforcement agencies, and international authorities. The Commission and individual states may join as co-plaintiffs in civil injunctive actions brought to enforce the CEA.