November 12, 2013
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained a federal court Order awarding restitution for defrauded customers, disgorgement, and a civil monetary penalty totaling more than $17 million against defendant Lyndon Parrilla, of California, in connection with an off-exchange foreign currency (forex) fraud scheme in which Parrilla and his company, Green Tree Capital (Green Tree), defrauded over 50 customers in the United States of over $4 million.
Judge Joseph L. Tauro of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts entered the final judgment and permanent injunction Order on October 24, 2013 (see Related Link), requiring Parrilla to pay restitution of $4,197,342 to defrauded customers, disgorgement of $3,353,925, and a $10 million civil monetary penalty. The Order also imposes permanent trading and registration bans against Parrilla and prohibits him from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged.
The Order stems from a CFTC Complaint filed on April 12, 2011, that charged Parrilla and Green Tree with fraud, misappropriation, and other CEA violations (see CFTC Press Release 6024-11). The court previously entered judgment against Green Tree on June 30, 2011.
The final judgment Order is based on the court’s findings set forth in an earlier Order, entered on September 30, 2013 (see Related Link), that finds that Parrilla and Green Tree fraudulently solicited over $4 million from at least 50 customers in the United States, from approximately October 2009 until April 2011, for the purported purpose of trading off-exchange forex contracts on a leveraged or margined basis in managed accounts.
In soliciting the funds, the Order finds that Parrilla, on behalf of Green Tree, misrepresented that Green Tree had a record of delivering consistently profitable returns when, in fact, it incurred trading losses since its inception, and almost 80 percent of customer funds was never traded or invested in any manner. In fact, according to the Order, Parrilla misappropriated over $3.3 million of customer funds to pay personal and entertainment expenses, including Las Vegas casino expenses, purchase automobiles and clothing, and ATM or cash withdrawals. To disguise these misrepresentations, trading losses, and misappropriations, Parrilla sent false Green Tree account statements to customers by email. Further, the Order finds that Parrilla misrepresented his experience and expertise, and failed to disclose that the National Futures Association (NFA) permanently barred him from NFA membership.
As a result of a parallel criminal action brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in November 2012, Parrilla was sentenced to, among other things, a term of 97 months imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $4,675,156.
The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Alex C. Levine, David Chu, Lindsey Evans, Melissa Glasbrenner, Mary Beth Spear, Ava M. Gould, Scott Williamson, Rosemary Hollinger, and Richard B. Wagner.
Last Updated: November 12, 2013