For Release: January 29, 2003
FEDERAL COMMODITIES ENFORCER CHARGES SALT LAKE CITY ATTORNEY DONALD J. PURSER WITH FRAUD
Utah Federal Court Permits CFTC to Add Parties And Expand Allegations in Existing Commodity Pool Fraud Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that on January 16, 2003, Judge Ted Stewart of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah granted the CFTC’s motion to add two defendants and expand its fraud claims in a case already pending before that court, captioned CFTC v. Birma, Ltd., et al., Civil Action No. 2:00CV00622ST. The new defendants are Donald J. Purser, a Salt Lake City attorney, and Thomas E. Jones, an Oregon resident.
The CFTC originally filed its six-count complaint on August 8, 2000 (see CFTC News Release 4437-00, August 22, 2000), and on September 25, 2000, obtained a preliminary injunction against defendants Stephen W. Brockbank of Salt Lake City, Carol J. Love of West Jordan, Utah, and Birma, Ltd., a Utah limited partnership and commodity pool. The initial complaint alleged that, among other things, Brockbank and Love had issued false statements to, and misappropriated the funds of, investors in the Birma, Ltd. commodity pool they operated.
The amended CFTC complaint alleges, among other things, that newly-added defendant Purser fraudulently solicited his law clients and others to invest in the Birma, Ltd. pool using misrepresentations and failures to disclose material facts, including misrepresentations about his own investment in the pool at a time when he had none, and a failure to disclose an arrangement he had with defendant Brockbank to receive fees. According to the amended complaint, Purser received more than $50,000 in administrative and incentive fees for soliciting investors in the Birma, Ltd. pool and also took a $10,000 loan from the pool that he never repaid. The complaint alleges that one investor Purser solicited invested $300,000 in the Birma, Ltd. pool.
The complaint also charges newly-added defendant Jones with having solicited commodity pool investors without being registered as a commodity pool operator, as required by law. Jones, according to CFTC’s complaint, solicited over $600,000 from investors for the Birma, Ltd. pool.
CFTC Details Alleged Fraud Charges Against Salt Lake City Residents Brockbank and Love
In addition to adding Purser and Jones as defendants in the CFTC action, the CFTC expanded its allegations of fraud committed by Utah residents Brockbank and Love. According to the
CFTC’s amended complaint, Brockbank and Love solicited approximately $2 million from investors for alleged investments in the Birma, Ltd. commodity pool. The complaint alleges that Brockbank and Love misappropriated the investors’ funds by, among other things, taking nearly $500,000 in incentive fees and business expenses to which they were not entitled or which the pool’s investors had not authorized. The CFTC also claims that Brockbank and Love issued false account statements to investors that either grossly exaggerated the pool’s profits or reported profits when the pool’s accounts were actually losing money.
CFTC Seeks Monetary Penalties and Repayment for Investors
In its continuing litigation, the CFTC intends to seek a permanent injunction, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, a customer repayment remedy known as restitution, and civil monetary penalties.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff are responsible for this case: Rosemary Hollinger, Scott R. Williamson, Camille Arnold, and Charlotte Ohlmiller.
A copy of the CFTC complaint and consent order may be obtained at www.cftc.gov.
Media Enforcement Contact:
Rosemary Hollinger, Associate Director/Regional Counsel
CFTC Division of Enforcement
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