February 28, 2014
Washington, DC — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Gregory A. Presnell of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida entered a default judgment and permanent injunction Order against Defendants Altamont Global Partners LLC (AGP) of Longwood, Florida, and its owner, John G. Wilkins, formerly of Chuluota, Florida. The Order requires AGP to pay $10,969,843 in disgorgement and Wilkins to pay $1,214,902 in disgorgement and a $3,644,706 civil monetary penalty. The Order also imposes permanent trading and registration bans against them and prohibits them from violating the Commodity Exchange Act and a CFTC regulation, as charged.
The court’s Order, entered on February 20, 2014, stems from a CFTC Complaint filed on July 16, 2012 against AGP and Wilkins, as well as Defendants Philip Leon and Paul Rangel (see CFTC Press Release 6315-12). The Order confirmed and adopted U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas B. Smith’s Report and Recommendation of January 31, 2014, which stated that from approximately March 2009 to at least June 22, 2012, AGP and Wilkins operated a fraudulent scheme that solicited at least $13 million from approximately 198 commodity pool participants to trade, among other things, commodity futures contracts, options on futures, and off-exchange foreign currency contracts.
The Order states that AGP and Wilkins, along with the other Defendants, misappropriated more than $5.2 million of pool participants’ funds in “loans” and “advances” to Defendants, which were sham transactions designed to disguise Defendants’ misappropriation, and issued false statements to pool participants regarding the profitability and value of their accounts. In addition, the Order states that AGP and Wilkins provided false information and documentation to the National Futures Association (NFA).
CFTC Previously Settled with Defendants Leon and Rangel
Previously, on December 17, 2013, the court entered consent Orders of permanent injunction against Defendants Leon and Rangel, requiring them to pay a combined total of over $8 million in disgorgement and civil monetary penalties, among other sanctions, to settle the CFTC action (see CFTC Press Release 6797-13).
With the entry of the Order against AGP and Wilkins, the CFTC’s litigation is concluded; however, the court-appointed receiver, Mark Silverio, continues his efforts to marshal and distribute Defendants’ assets to their fraud victims.
A Related Criminal Action
In a related criminal action, on August 22, 2013, Wilkins pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud (see United States v. Wilkins, No. 13-cr-181 (M.D. Fla. July 19, 2013)). Wilkins was sentenced to 108 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $17,042,026.89 in restitution, jointly and severally with defendant Leon, who received the same prison sentence.
The CFTC thanks the NFA for its assistance.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Rachel Hayes, Peter Riggs, Stephen Turley, Charles Marvine, Rick Glaser, and Richard Wagner.
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CFTC’s Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory
The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory, which warns customers about a type of fraud that involves individuals and firms, often unregistered, offering investments in commodity pools.
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 28, 2014