For Release: October 10, 2002
WASHINGTON STATE COMMODITY TRADING FIRM CHARGED WITH FRAUD IN THE SOLICITATION OF FOREIGN CURRENCY (FOREX) FUTURES ACCOUNTS
Defendant Sterling forex Lost $1.8 Million in Customer Investments
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that on October 4, 2002, the Honorable Barbara Jacobs Rothstein of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington entered a consent order of preliminary injunction against Sterling forex, LLC, a Washington State limited liability corporation, and Maurice L. Mills, both of Bellevue, Washington. The order enjoins them from committing fraud in the solicitation of managed foreign currency (FOREX) futures trading accounts, and requires them to disclose to current and prospective customers that they have been sued by the CFTC for alleged violation of the anti-fraud provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).
The order arises out of a CFTC injunctive complaint filed against defendants on October 3, 2002. Specifically, the CFTC complaint alleges that, since at least March 2002, Sterling forex and Mills solicited and accepted funds from retail customers to engage in speculative trading of FOREX futures contracts, and that, during the course of these solicitations, the defendants misrepresented the performance record for Sterling forex’s managed account clients on its website at www.sterlingforex.com, and also orally and in writing to customers.
For example, the complaint alleges that the defendants claimed profitable trading for their managed accounts every month starting in December 1998, and further claimed annual profits for those accounts in excess of 60 percent annually during the years 1999 through 2001, when, in fact, Sterling forex’s managed accounts did not first trade until June 2002 and lost in excess of $1.8 million trading managed accounts since June 2002.
The complaint further alleges that defendants falsely represented on their website and orally to customers that the performance record was audited monthly by a major accounting firm.
In its continuing litigation, the CFTC is seeking permanent injunctive relief, restitution to customers, and civil monetary penalties of up to $120,000 for each violation of the CEA, or triple the monetary gain to the defendants, whichever is greater.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff are responsible for the case: Louis Traeger, Jason Gizzarelli, and Bruce Gale.
Media Case Contact
Richard Wagner, Deputy Director
Division of Enforcement
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