For Release: September 16, 2008
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that Frank Anthony DeSantis III of Stuart, Florida, and Doreen Rose Valko, of Coconut Creek, Florida, were ordered to pay more than $8 million in restitution and penalties for fraud and misappropriation of customer funds in connection with their operation of International Investments Holdings Corporation (IIHC), which operated a foreign currency (forex) options fraud.
The Honorable William P. Dimitrouleas, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida, ordered DeSantis III and Valko to jointly and severally pay restitution to defrauded investors of $4 million and to pay $4 million and $360,000, respectively, in civil monetary penalties. The court also permanently barred both defendants from engaging in any business activities involving commodity futures and options trading.
The court had previously found that relief defendants Thomas W. Yoos, Jr. and American Lighthouse Trading, Inc. (ALT) received payments from the defendants’ operation that were fraudulently obtained. Thus, the court ordered ALT and Yoos to disgorge the ill-gotten gains of $6,795 and $15,100, respectively.
The Scam Defrauded Approximately 205 Retail Customers of at Least $1.13 Million
The court’s action stems from CFTC anti-fraud charges filed against the defendants in July 2006 in CFTC v. Doreen Valko, et al., 06 CV 60001 (S.D.Fla.) (see CFTC Press Releases 5204-06, July 24, 2006 and 5225-06, September 5, 2006).
The CFTC alleged that IIHC, a purported Bahamian corporation actually operating out of south Florida, and Valko, acting as it president, misappropriated and defrauded approximately 205 retail customers of at least $1.13 million while purportedly trading forex options. DeSantis was charged with knowingly aiding and abetting the creation and operation of IIHC by providing consulting and marketing services to both Valko and IIHC. The CFTC also alleged that to hide the misappropriation, IIHC and DeSantis generated false customer account statements, confirming purported forex options transactions.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Timothy J. Mulreany, David Reed, Michael Amakor, Paul Hayeck, and Joan Manley.
Last Updated: September 16, 2008