For Release: February 19, 2009
Washington, DC — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commends the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida for the successful prosecution of Frank Anthony DeSantis III (DeSantis), of Stuart, Florida. DeSantis pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. DeSantis was sentenced to 108 months in prison and was ordered to pay over $2 million in tax penalties.
As part of his guilty plea, DeSantis admitted to his participation in a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud while operating and having a financial interest in several commodity investment and telemarketing rooms throughout South Florida. To execute his scheme, DeSantis made and caused others to make misrepresentations of material facts to potential customers, in order to convince them to invest in foreign currency (forex) options. In addition, DeSantis and others deliberately failed to tell customers that more than 95 percent of customers lost money and that DeSantis had previously been barred by the CFTC from acting as a commodities broker.
Criminal Prosecution Follows the CFTC’s 2006 Civil Complaint
On September 9, 2008, the CFTC obtained an order of permanent injunction resolving all CFTC charges against DeSantis, in CFTC v. Doreen Valko, et al., 06 CV 60001 (S.D.Fla.). In that action, filed in 2006, the CFTC alleged that DeSantis used customers’ money to purchase luxury homes, boats, and cars, among other things. Ultimately, the Honorable William P. Dimitrouleas ordered DeSantis to pay more than $8 million in restitution and penalties for committing fraud and misappropriation in connection with his operation of International Investments Holdings Corporation (IIHC). The order also permanently prohibits DeSantis from engaging in any business activities related to commodity futures and options trading. (See CFTC News Releases 5544-08, September 16, 2008 and 5204-06, July 24, 2006.)
R. David Gary
Last Updated: February 19, 2009