August 26, 2013
Washington, DC — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it obtained a federal court consent Order of permanent injunction requiring Defendants Sidney J. Charles, Jr., formerly of Bowie, Maryland, and his company, The Borrowing Station, LLC (Borrowing Station) of Bowie, Maryland, jointly and severally to pay $254,236 in restitution and a $350,000 civil monetary penalty in connection with an off-exchange leveraged foreign currency (forex) Ponzi scheme.
The Order, entered on August 23, 2013, by Judge Paul W. Grimm of the U.S. District Court of the District of Maryland, also imposes permanent registration and trading bans against both Defendants and prohibits them from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC Regulations, as charged. The court’s Order stems from a CFTC complaint filed on April 23, 2012, that charged Defendants with solicitation fraud, misappropriation, issuing false statements, and registration violations (see CFTC Press Release 6247-12).
The Order finds that, from at least October 2009 through at least July 2011, Defendants fraudulently solicited $369,326 from 18 individuals or entities for participation in a pooled investment vehicle managed by Borrowing Station, through Charles, that traded forex. According to the Order, Defendants solicited pool participants directly and through a website. In their solicitations, Defendants promised substantial investment returns such as 25 percent per year or 10 percent per month, and falsely claimed that pool participant funds were guaranteed against trading losses. The Order finds that Defendants deposited only a portion of pool participant funds into trading accounts and lost a majority of those funds unsuccessfully trading forex.
The Order also finds that Defendants issued checks to pool participants that represented purported “monthly returns” or “return on investment.” However, any purported profits that Defendants paid to pool participants came from the principal of other pool participants in the manner of a Ponzi scheme. In addition, Charles misappropriated pool participant funds to pay for personal expenses and to fund Borrowing Station’s operations, according to the Order.
The Order further finds that Borrowing Station and Charles failed to register as a Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) and Associated Person of a CPO, respectively, as required under the CEA and CFTC Regulations.
The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this case are Kara Mucha, Kassra Goudarzi, Michael Solinsky, Gretchen L. Lowe, and Vincent A. McGonagle.
Last Updated: August 26, 2013