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RELEASE: pr5432-08

  • Release: 5432-08

    For Release: January 8, 2008

    President of a Miami Commodity Futures and Options Firm Sanctioned $260,000 for Fraud and Misappropriation of Customer Funds

    Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced a default judgment against Lazaro Jose Rodriguez of Miami, Florida, doing business as The FIRM “Financial” and as Financial Investments Require Money – Financial Consultants. The Court found that the defendant defrauded customers and misappropriated their funds, and ordered him to pay a $260,000 civil monetary penalty.

    The default order was entered December 17, 2007, by the Honorable Naomi Reice Buchwald of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and stems from a CFTC complaint filed in February 2006. (See CFTC Press Release, 5157-06, February 7, 2006.)

    The complaint alleged that, between March 2005 and January 2006, Rodriguez solicited and received approximately $1.5 million from at least 400 customers to trade commodity futures and options contracts. As part of those solicitations, Rodriguez allegedly made false promises guaranteeing large profits without risk. The complaint also alleged that as part of his fraudulent scheme, Rodriguez pretended to be an experienced commodities trader, which he was not. Rather than using customer funds to trade commodity futures and options, Rodriguez allegedly misappropriated the money and used it to purchase luxury cars, jewelry, and other personal items.

    In addition to imposing a civil fine, the default order permanently bans Rodriguez from engaging, directly or indirectly, in any business activities related to commodities trading.

    Action Was Result of a Cooperative Civil and Criminal Investigation

    The CFTC’s injunctive action was the result of a cooperative civil and criminal investigation by the CFTC, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Florida Office of Financial Regulation.

    The following CFTC staff members are responsible for this case: Linda Y. Peng, David W. MacGregor, Lenel Hickson, Jr., Stephen J. Obie, and Vincent A. McGonagle.

    Media Contacts
    Ianthe Zabel
    202-418-5080

    Dennis Holden
    202-418-5088

    Last Updated: January 8, 2008

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