For Release: September 17, 2001
GEORGIA INTERNET PROMOTERS CHARGED WITH COMMODITY FRAUD
CFTC Alleges That George Heffernan and Ellery Coleman Made False
Claims Concerning Profits Generated by Commodity Trading
Defendants Also Alleged to have Violated CFTC Orders Issued Against Them in September and May 2000
WASHINGTON - The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
announced today the filing of two federal court actions on September 11,
2001, against defendants
George Heffernan (Heffernan) of Evans,
Georgia and Ellery Coleman, d/b/a Granite Investments (Coleman)
of Warner Robins, Georgia. The CFTC charges that Heffernan and
Coleman each fraudulently promoted commodity trading systems and other
services over their Internet web sites by making false claims that their
systems generated huge profits at little risk and that they each
personally and profitably traded using their systems. The CFTC further
charges that through such false claims, Heffernan and Coleman are
violating prior Commission orders issued against them in May 2000 based
on the same type of fraud. (See CFTC News Release 4442-00,
September 7, 2000 and CFTC News Release 4397-00, May 1,
In the action against Heffernan, the CFTC alleges that since a previous action and settlement with the CFTC in September 2000, Heffernan has fraudulently solicited customers to purchase his commodity day trading technique, a commodity day trading instructional course and other products and services over his web sites, www.accutrader.com and www.logitectrading.com. In his solicitations, Heffernan allegedly makes the same claims that the CFTC found to be fraudulent in its May 2000 order. Specifically, Heffernan allegedly misrepresents that he has traded his own system. For example, according to the complaint, he has made the following statements on his websites “with a password, you can enter this service and hear George Heffernan think out loud as he day trades” and “this service gives you the ability to look over an experienced day trader’s shoulder as he trades real time.” As alleged, Heffernan rarely made the trades he recommended and between early January 2001 and early May 2001, placed no trades.
The CFTC also alleges that Heffernan claimed that his trading technique resulted in profitable trades a high percentage of the time. For instance, he allegedly stated that his recommendations were “90% accurate approximately 1 trade per day” and “80 to 85% accurate approximately 8 trades per day,” and that “it is possible to make $500 per day or $10,000 per month for part time work of a couple hours a day.” As alleged, Heffernan’s business records fail to support the supposed profitability or accuracy of this trades, whether real or hypothetical and his personal trading between September 1999 and January 2001 resulted in net aggregate losses of $20,000.
The CFTC charges that Heffernan’s alleged fraudulent acts,
described above, are in violation of the May 2000 order against
In the action against Coleman, the CFTC alleges that since a previous settlement with the CFTC, Coleman has resumed his fraudulent promotions over the Internet and through e-mail and electronic newsletters. Coleman is allegedly making the same types of claims on his website, www.choicedaytrades.com, found to be fraudulent by the CFTC in its May 2000 order. For instance, the complaint alleges that Coleman represents that he has been trading for a long time and told one customer, “yes, I am making a net profit using my system.” In fact, however, according to the complaint, Coleman appears to have engaged in minor trading on only two days since the May 2000 order was issued, and each of those trading days resulted in losses.
As alleged, Coleman has also made false claims that his systems generate significant profits, such as “over 60% winners in the big S&P and 70% in the Emini” futures contracts. Coleman does not properly disclose that those profit claims are based on hypothetical trading, not actual trading, according to the complaint. Coleman also allegedly uses money-back guarantees to make similar profit claims. For example, Coleman allegedly offers “Guarantee: If S&P Savvy does not show a profit for the current June contract, we will refund your full purchase price. That’s how confident I am in this system.” As alleged, Coleman did not have a basis for such claims. Customers have experienced significant losses using Coleman’s products, some have sought and received refunds from Coleman, and Coleman failed to substantiate his profit claims to the CFTC, according to the complaint.
The CFTC charges that Coleman’s alleged fraudulent acts, described above, are in violation of the May 2000 order against him.
In its continuing litigations against each of the defendants, the CFTC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, an accounting, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and civil monetary penalties in amounts of not more than the higher of $120,000 for each violation (or $110,000 for each violation that occurred after November 27, 1996 and before October 23, 2000) or triple the monetary gain to the defendants.
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On May 1, 2000 and September 7 and 26, 2000, the CFTC filed a total of 16 enforcement actions against promoters of commodity trading systems or services who were using the Internet to market their systems or services by, among other things, making fraudulent claims concerning the profits to be made using their systems or services to trade commodity futures or options. (See CFTC News Releases 4451-00, September 27, 2000, 4442-00, September 7, 2000 and 4397-00, May 1, 2000, respectively.)
The CFTC also issued a
CFTC Consumer Advisory warning the public about the false and
misleading claims on Internet web sites touting outstanding performance
with little risk if a customer used the advertised trading systems of
Heather Capell, Trial Attorney
CFTC Division of Enforcement
For Coleman: Vince McGongale, Acting Associate Director
CFTC Division of Enforcement (202) 418-5387
Copies of the CFTC complaints filed against Heffernan and Coleman may be found at http://www.cftc.gov/enf/00orders/enfheffernan.htm and http://www.cftc.gov/enf/00orders/enfcoleman.htm, respectively.
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