December 7, 2015
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order filing and simultaneously settling charges against Garen Ovsepyan of Glendale, California, and his companies Sharpe Signa, LLC and Haeres Capital, LLC (collectively, Respondents) for making false statements to the CFTC in their notices of exemption from registration. The CFTC Order also settles charges that Ovsepyan and Sharpe had engaged in foreign currency (forex) solicitation fraud, and that Sharpe had operated as a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) without being registered with the CFTC, in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).
The CFTC Order imposes permanent trading and registration bans on the Respondents and bars them from any commodity-related activities. In addition to the permanent ban, the Order requires the Respondents jointly to pay a $70,000 civil monetary penalty and prohibits them from further violations of the CEA, as charged.
According to the CFTC’s Order, Ovsepyan was the sole owner and operator of Sharpe and Haeres, which provided trading advisory services to managed accounts in off-exchange forex transactions from in or about August 2012 to at least January 2015. The Order states that Ovsepyan, on behalf of Sharpe and Haeres, filed notices of exemption from CTA registration and multiple affirmations of such claimed exemptions with the CFTC, knowing that the representations made in his submissions were false or misleading. The Order states that Sharpe did, in fact, act as a CTA and should have been registered. In addition, the CFTC Order states that Ovsepyan also created and distributed promotional materials to current and prospective clients of Sharpe that were materially misleading in several respects, including claiming that Sharpe was managing as much as $145 million dollars, when in reality the vast majority of that figure was notional and Sharpe was only actually managing about $15 million.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Barry Blankfield, Joe Patrick, Susan Gradman, Scott Williamson, and Rosemary Hollinger.
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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: December 7, 2015