For Release: May 4, 2006
Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma entered a consent order of permanent injunction settling CFTC charges of misappropriation and sales solicitation fraud brought against Randy Steve Lanier of Hinton, Oklahoma.
The consent order stems from a CFTC complaint filed on May 10, 2005 (see CFTC News Release 5077-05, May 19, 2005), charging that, between September 2001 and October 2003, Lanier misappropriated customer funds provided to trade commodity futures and options accounts and that he fraudulently solicited customers by exaggerating the profitability of trading options on futures. The complaint also charged Lanier with distributing falsified account statements and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax forms to conceal his illegal activities.
In the consent order, the court specifically found that Lanier:
• misappropriated customer funds by creating a fictitious entity, Rennco Futures Group, and leading customers to believe that Rennco was a registered Futures Commission Merchant at which customers could open accounts, deposit funds, and trade commodity futures and options;
• represented that customers were making large profits -- as much as $300,000 -- in their trading accounts when, in fact, no accounts existed;
• provided fictitious account statements and IRS Forms 1099 to customers; and
• provided customers with phony wire transfers to make it appear that customers’ profits had been withdrawn from their fictitious commodity trading accounts.
The consent order requires that Lanier pay $110,860 in restitution to defrauded customers, pay a $120,000 civil monetary penalty, and be permanently enjoined from engaging in sales solicitation fraud in violation of federal commodity law. The order also permanently bans Lanier from trading on any commodity market subject to the CFTC’s jurisdiction.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma (USAO), which investigated this matter in conjunction with the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement, charged Lanier with money laundering. On February 10, 2006, he was sentenced to 15 months in jail, followed by two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $105,360 in restitution to his defrauded customers. The CFTC would like to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma and the Internal Revenue Service for their assistance in this matter.
The following CFTC staff members are responsible for this case: Ken McCracken, Jo Mettenburg, Lacey Dingman, and Richard Glaser.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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.
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.
Last Updated: September 29, 2011