For Release: July 1, 2003
CFTC FINDS THAT FLORIDA RESIDENTS FRAUDULENTLY MARKETED A COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING METHOD ON E-BAY
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it simultaneously filed and settled enforcement actions against Internet commodity trading program sellers Robert Gudino of Apopka, Florida, and Curtis M. Ebaugh of Winter Park, Florida. In separate orders dated June 30, 2003, the CFTC found that Gudino and Ebaugh, through advertisements they placed on the Internet auction website eBay, each fraudulently solicited customers to purchase a commodity futures trading method called PinPoint.
The orders find that Gudino, between July and November 2001, and Ebaugh, between December 2001 and July 2002, fraudulently solicited customers through eBay advertisements to purchase the PinPoint commodity trading method. According to the orders, the advertisements created the false impression that Ebaugh and Gudino were profitably trading commodity futures using the PinPoint method, and that they made their living from such trading. For example, the order pertaining to Ebaugh finds that he featured a photograph of himself driving a luxury automobile with the caption, “I live the life I have always dreamed of,” and listed specific trades and purported profits from those trades that purportedly had been earned using the PinPoint method. The order pertaining to Gudino finds that he falsely claimed to have given up his full-time job to work as a commodities trader, and that he likewise listed specific trading “profits” that he purportedly earned by using the PinPoint method. The orders find, however, that neither Ebaugh nor Gudino earned his living as a trader, neither successfully traded commodities, and, in fact, neither even maintained a commodity futures trading account.
The orders further find that Ebaugh and Gudino listed specific trading profits in their advertisements, thereby creating the impression that each trade represented an actual, profitable trade made using the PinPoint method. In fact, the orders find that all of the listed trades were hypothetical, which Ebaugh failed to disclose in the required manner and Gudino did not disclose. The orders also find that Ebaugh and Gudino failed to provide disclosures concerning the inherent limitations of hypothetical results, as required by the CFTC’s regulations, as well as misrepresented the risks involved in trading commodity futures.
The orders require Ebaugh to pay a $15,000 civil monetary penalty and Gudino to pay a $6,000 civil monetary penalty. The orders also suspend Ebaugh’s registration as a commodity trading advisor for three months, and require that Ebaugh and Gudino not make unsubstantiated claims of profits or risk in connection with the use of a commodity trading system or method.
In consenting to the entry of the respective CFTC orders, Ebaugh and Gudino neither admitted nor denied the findings made in the Commission orders.
The following Division of Enforcement staff were responsible for this enforcement action: Gretchen L. Lowe, Susan B. Bovee, and Todd Kelly.
Copies of the Commission’s order can be found at http://www.cftc.gov/.
Media Enforcement Case Contact:
Gretchen Lowe, Associate Director
CFTC Division of Enforcement
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