February 19, 2014
Washington, DC - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed an enforcement action in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina, charging Ron Earl McCullough and David Christopher Mayhew. The CFTC Complaint charges McCullough and Mayhew with fraudulently soliciting, directly and through others, approximately $2.3 million from at least 11 individuals to trade leveraged or margined off-exchange foreign currency (forex) contracts. Further, the CFTC Complaint alleges that McCullough and Mayhew misappropriated at least $1.6 million of their customers’ funds.
In a separate but related matter, the CFTC issued an administrative Order against Travis Maurice Cox that sets forth Cox’s fraudulent conduct in connection with his solicitations on behalf of his forex trading partners.
CFTC Complaint against McCullough and Mayhew
The CFTC Complaint alleges that, from approximately December 2008 until approximately January 2012, McCullough and Mayhew, directly and through others, misrepresented the risks of trading forex; falsely guaranteed the return of customers’ principal; falsely promised high returns, including double returns in short periods of time; and failed to disclose that they intended to use customer funds to pay principal and purported profits to other customers and for personal expenses. During this period, McCullough and Mayhew were residents of Raleigh, North Carolina, according to the Complaint.
The Complaint also alleges that Mayhew caused false account statements to be issued that concealed his and McCullough’s misappropriation, trading losses, and lack of trading, and that McCullough and Mayhew aided and abetted each other’s violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (Act) and a CFTC regulation, as charged.
The Complaint further charges that McCullough and Mayhew misappropriated approximately $808,000 to make purported payments of principal and profits to customers. In addition, McCullough and Mayhew misappropriated approximately $829,000, using their customers’ funds to pay for their own personal expenses, including an online forex trading course and travel expenses.
In its continuing litigation against McCullough and Mayhew, the CFTC seeks civil monetary penalties, restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, trading and registration bans, and a permanent injunction against further violations of the federal commodities laws, as charged.
CFTC Administrative Order against Travis Maurice Cox
According to the CFTC administrative Order as to Cox, a resident of North Carolina, from about August 2009 through December 2011, Cox fraudulently solicited approximately $1.3 million from at least five individuals to trade forex through Cox and his partners. The Order also finds that Cox falsely told his customers that his partners had made money for Cox through forex trading, and that they could be trusted. Cox also represented that all of his customers’ funds would be traded, but failed to transfer all such funds to his partners for trading.
Further, according to the Order, Cox misappropriated approximately $114,000 of his customers’ funds by either failing to deposit that money into forex trading accounts or transferring it to his partners for trading.
The Order requires Cox to make restitution of $1,306,010.95 to his defrauded customers and to pay a $330,000 civil monetary penalty. The Order also requires Cox to cease and desist from further violations of the Act and a CFTC regulation, as charged, and imposes permanent bans on trading, registration, and certain other commodity-related activities.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Glenn I. Chernigoff, James H. Holl, III, Maura Viehmeyer, Richard A. Glaser, and Gretchen L. Lowe.
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CFTC’s Foreign Currency (Forex) Fraud Advisory
The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Foreign Currency Trading (Forex) Fraud Advisory, which states that the CFTC has witnessed a sharp rise in Forex trading scams in recent years and helps customers identify this potential fraud.
Customers can report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the CFTC Division of Enforcement via a Toll-Free Hotline 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382) or file a tip or complaint online.
Last Updated: February 19, 2014