Release: 4799-03 (CFTC Docket No. 03-12)
For Release: June 19, 2003

CFTC FILES ACTION AGAINST LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, FOREIGN CURRENCY (FOREX) TRADING FIRM AND ITS OWNER

Commission Finds that Respondents Reliant Global Markets, LLC and Maria Cecille Maristela Offered Illegal Foreign Currency Futures Contracts to Retail Customers; As Part of a CFTC Settlement, Respondents Are Prohibited from Trading for Two Years

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today the filing and simultaneous settlement of an administrative proceeding against respondents Reliant Global Markets, LLC (RGM) of Los Angeles, California, and Maria Cecille Maristela, residing in Glendale, California. The order finds that Reliant Global Markets and Maristela offered and sold illegal, off-exchange foreign currency (FOREX) futures contracts to retail customers.

The order specifically finds that, between December 2000 and October 2001, RGM and Maristela used funds solicited from retail customers and accepted new customer funds for the purpose of engaging in the off-exchange speculative trading of foreign currency futures contracts. RGM and Maristela deposited those funds into an omnibus trading account maintained in RGM’s name at a futures commission merchant (FCM) to trade FOREX futures contracts, the order finds, and, in addition, RGM and Maristela did not disclose to the FCM that they were trading customer funds in the omnibus account and did not fully disclose to customers that their funds would be traded through an FCM.

According to the order, RGM acted as the counterparty to retail customers in the FOREX futures transactions; however, RGM was not a counterparty permitted by the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) to offer and sell FOREX futures contracts to retail customers. RGM and Maristela also did not execute the foreign currency futures contracts on a contract market or derivatives transaction execution facility that had been registered or designated as a board of trade by the CFTC, according to the order. Accordingly, the order finds that RGM and Maristela offered and sold illegal, off-exchange foreign currency futures contracts to retail customers in violation of the CEA.

RGM and Maristela, without admitting or denying the findings, consented to the entry of the order, which requires them to cease violating the CEA as charged, and prohibits them from trading on any registered entities or seeking registration with the Commission for two years. The order also requires them to supervise diligently the handling of all commodity futures and options trading by RGM, including any foreign currency futures and options trading.

The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff were responsible for this case: Gretchen L. Lowe, Rick Glaser, Jack Barrett, Myrna Morganstern, Louis Traeger, and Bruce Gale.


Media Enforcement Contact:
Gretchen L. Lowe
Associate Director
CFTC Division of Enforcement
(202) 418-5379

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The CFTC Has Issued A Consumer Advisory Warning the Public of the Risks of Foreign Currency (FOREX) Trading and Foreign Currency Scams

The CFTC has issued a Consumer Advisory (at www.cftc.gov/cftc/cftccustomer.htm) urging the public to scrutinize claims of high-return, low-risk investment opportunities in foreign currency trading. This Consumer Advisory provides "red flags" to look for, and cautionary steps to be taken, before making an investment. The CFTC has also issued Advisories concerning the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of December 2000 (CMFA), and how FOREX firms may lawfully offer foreign currency futures and options trading opportunities to the retail public (see CFTC Press Release 4625-02, March 21, 2002; CFTC Advisory, March 21, 2002; and CFTC Advisory 06-01, February 5, 2001).

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