For Release: July 30, 2003
FEDERAL COURT FREEZES ASSETS OF INTERNATIONAL FOREIGN CURRENCY, INC., AND ITS EXECUTIVES IN COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION FOREIGN CURRENCY FRAUD CASE
Defendants Thomas Qualls, Michael Kourmolis and Their Company Charged with Defrauding Customers and Selling Illegal Foreign Currency Futures Contracts to the Public
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that a federal court in New York has issued an order (order) freezing the assets of defendants International Foreign Currency, Inc. (IFC), recently operating out of Garden City, New York, Thomas Qualls, president of IFC and a resident of Bellmore, New York, and Michael Kourmolis, an account executive of IFC and a resident of Brooklyn, NY.
The court’s order, issued on July 23, 2003, stems from a CFTC complaint filed that day charging the defendants with fraud and offering illegal foreign currency futures contracts to customers. The order also prohibits the defendants from destroying documents.
The CFTC complaint alleges that from November 27, 2001, through the present, defendants IFC, Qualls and Kourmolis solicited and accepted funds from investors to engage in speculative trading of foreign currency futures contracts. In soliciting customers, the complaint alleges, IFC and Kourmolis misleadingly implied that customer funds would be deposited in personal accounts when in fact customer funds were commingled in an IFC corporate account, and falsely represented that the Chase Manhattan Bank insured customer funds up to $25 million.
In its continuing litigation in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the CFTC is seeking a permanent injunction against each defendant, the repayment of ill-gotten funds to defrauded customers, the restoration of all ill-gotten gains, and an award of civil monetary penalties. A copy of the CFTC complaint and restraining order may be obtained at http://www.cftc.gov.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Erin E. Powell, James H. Holl, III and Gretchen L. Lowe.
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Media Case Enforcement Contact:
Gretchen L. Lowe, Associate Director
CFTC Division of Enforcement
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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).