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RELEASE: pr5174-06

  • Release: 5174-06

    For Release: April 11, 2006

    Mesa, Arizona Foreign Currency Trader Ronald Stephen Holt Settles Fraud Charges with U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission for Nearly $32 Million

    Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that Judge Paul G. Rosenblatt of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona entered a consent order of permanent injunction against defendants Ronald Steven Holt of Mesa, Arizona; International Funding Association (IFA) and Global Management Group (Global), both Arizona companies; and Cambridge Global Group (Cambridge), a Bahamian concern, assessing nearly $32 million in sanctions.

    The consent order was issued in an enforcement action the CFTC filed against the defendants in 2003, charging that since 1997, Holt and his companies engaged in solicitation fraud, illegal off-exchange commodity futures trading, and the misappropriation of customer funds. (See CFTC News Release 4841, September 22, 2003.)

    The order finds that Holt fraudulently solicited about $25 million from roughly 2,500 customers for the purpose of trading commodity futures contracts, including precious metals and foreign currencies, using false claims that he achieved investment returns of seven to ten percent per month.

    The order further finds that the defendants traded illegal futures contracts, and misappropriated at least $14 million of the customers’ $25 million. According to the order, the defendants used the stolen funds to purchase residential real estate, vehicles and trailers, art work, gold coins, and various other items for the personal use and enjoyment of defendant Holt, his family, and friends.

    The order provides for a permanent injunction against all defendants, and holds the defendants jointly and severally liable to pay a judgment totaling nearly $32 million, comprised of more than $14 million for repayment to defrauded customers, about $1.5 million in interest, and approximately $16 million in monetary penalties.

    Gregory G. Mocek, Director of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement, stated:

    As this case demonstrates, we place a high priority on pursuing foreign currency swindlers and freezing their assets to give back to retail victims. However, customers should not enter into investments with blindfolds on and expect that everyone in the marketplace is legitimate. Before you fall for a high-pressure sales pitch urging you trade foreign currencies based on rosy profit predictions, do your due diligence and think hard about whether you can afford to lose your whole investment.

    Holt Remains Jailed Until He Accounts for at Least $3 Million in Customer Funds

    Holt was incarcerated in July 2004 after the court held him in civil contempt for failing to comply with orders that he account for his assets, including $3 million in customer funds that Holt admitted sending to off-shore accounts. Holt has not clarified his assets and remains in prison. The court’s civil contempt order was entered as part of consolidated contempt proceedings brought by the Commission with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which also filed suit against Holt for securities fraud in the same court.

    The CFTC and the SEC have jointly worked with the court-appointed Receiver, Lawrence Warfield, and his counsel, Gutilla & Murphy, to seize nearly $1.5 million in assets.

    The CFTC acknowledges the ongoing cooperation and assistance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Ft. Worth Office; the United States Marshal’s Service; and the Arizona Securities Commission.

    The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Timothy J. Mulreany, Robert Hildum, Mary Kaminski, Paul Hayeck, and Joan Manley.

    A copy of the CFTC complaint, restraining order, contempt order and the consent order are available at http://www.cftc.gov/.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The CFTC encourages members of the public to bring to our attention any suspicious activities involving futures or commodity options, including matters involving foreign currency (forex) investments or suspicious Internet websites.

    You may contact the CFTC at 1-866-FON-CFTC (1-866-366-2382), visit us at our Consumer Protection web page or fill out our Internet Report Form identifying your concerns.

    In addition, the CFTC publishes a series of Consumer Advisories alerting the public to warning signs of possible fraudulent activity and offering precautions individuals should take before committing funds.

    Media Contacts
    Alan Sobba
    202-418-5080

    Dennis Holden
    202-418-5088

    Last Updated: December 15, 2011

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