April 26, 2012
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today filed and simultaneously settled charges that Ghassan Tawachi of Coral Gables, Fla., defrauded customers through sales of his software trading systems by falsely claiming expertise as a successful professional trader and by misappropriating $40,000 from one customer. Tawachi is a registered Commodity Trading Advisor.
The CFTC order requires Tawachi to pay a $140,000 civil monetary penalty and restitution of $140,839.70. The order also imposes permanent trading and registration bans against Tawachi.
According to the order, from July 2010 until at least September 30, 2011, Tawachi marketed the “Bentley Automated Trading Systems” and the “Avanti Automated Trading System” through two Internet websites. In his marketing for both systems, Tawachi claimed that he formulated his trading software based upon his purported substantial professional trading experience, the order finds.
On both websites, Tawachi maintained that as a “Professional trader,” he had developed his trading systems based upon “more than 10 years of professional experience.” Instead, the order finds that Tawachi had no professional trading experience, and his trading background was limited to a single personal futures account opened three years earlier, through which he had conducted limited and unsuccessful trading.
The order further finds that Tawachi accepted $40,000 directly from one of his software customers to be traded in his personal futures account pursuant to his trading system, and that he claimed to have made up to $100,000 as a result of his successful trading. The order further finds that Tawachi guaranteed the customer a 20 percent monthly return if the customer committed to a 90-day investment period. The order finds that Tawachi subsequently failed to return any of the customer’s funds, and account records demonstrated that none of the customer’s funds were deposited into Tawachi’s futures trading accounts.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this case are Ken Koh, Danielle Karst, Todd Kelly, Peter M. Haas, Paul G. Hayeck, and Joan Manley.
Last Updated: April 26, 2012