For Release: September 25, 2007
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that a federal court in Miami entered an order freezing assets under the control of, and prohibiting the destruction of documents by, defendants Joerg Heierle, of Miami Beach, Florida, and INH-Interholding SA (INH), of Switzerland and Miami Beach, Florida.
The order arises out a complaint filed by the CFTC on September 12, 2007, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, charging defendants with fraudulently soliciting at least $4.4 million in a commodity futures and options pool fraud scheme. The complaint also charges Heierle and INH with concealing trading losses by issuing false statements to pool participants regarding the profitability of their INH investments. The CFTC also names Futures Trading Academy, Inc., of Bay Harbour, Florida, as a relief defendant due to its alleged receipt of pool participants’ funds.
According to the complaint, Heierle disappeared in April 2007, and pool participants have not been able to access their funds since that time.
The CFTC complaint specifically alleges that, since at least October 2001 through April 2007, Heierle and INH solicited pool participants located throughout the United States and abroad to invest in an INH commodity futures and options pool that Heierle would operate and manage on their behalf. In their solicitations, defendants falsely represented that the INH commodity pools were historically profitable and that Heierle was a successful trader. For example, the INH website (www.interholding.net) claimed that the three INH pools realized returns of 12.1 percent, 17.3 percent and 30.2 percent in 2005.
However, as alleged, there are no trading accounts in the name of INH, and the known trading accounts controlled by Heierle sustained losses during that time period totaling $80,000. Moreover, during the relevant time period, the known trading accounts controlled by Heierle allegedly sustained overall net trading losses of approximately $1,000,000.
The complaint also alleges that defendants issued false account statements to pool participants reflecting that defendants were profitably trading on their behalf. For example, for the period between July 2006 and April 2007, despite having sustained net trading losses of approximately $1.2 million, pool participants’ account summaries reflected returns of up to 10 percent.
In addition to the fraud charges, the complaint charges INH and Heierle with registration and other regulatory violations.
In its continuing litigation, the CFTC is seeking a permanent injunction against the defendants, disgorgement and restitution, and payment of civil monetary penalties. The court is in the process of scheduling a hearing on the CFTC’s request for a preliminary injunction.
The CFTC wishes to thank the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation for its assistance.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Kevin S. Webb, James H. Holl, III, Gretchen L. Lowe, Kara Mucha and Michelle Bougas.
Last Updated: September 25, 2007