For Release: September 9, 2003
U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION NOTES THE UNSEALING OF 40-COUNT FEDERAL CRIMINAL INDICTMENT AGAINST DONALD O’NEILL RELATING TO FOREIGN CURRENCY INVESTMENT SCHEME
CFTC Charged O’Neill Civilly in 2002 Based On Same Underlying Facts
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) noted today the announcement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida of the unsealing of an indictment against Donald C. O’Neill (O’Neill), formerly of Lighthouse Point, Florida. The indictment charges O’Neill with 40 counts of criminal activity relating to a foreign currency investment scheme, including ten counts each of mail fraud and wire fraud, and an additional twenty counts of money laundering. O’Neill allegedly carried out the scheme through several purported hedge funds that raised approximately $13.7 million from investors throughout the United States.
Based on the same underlying facts charged in the U.S. Attorney’s indictment, the CFTC in September 2002 filed a civil complaint in a Florida federal district court, alleging that O’Neill and several related companies committed commodity fraud (see CFTC News Release 4703-02 , September 19, 2002). The CFTC complaint and the subsequent indictment both charged that O’Neill, through the offer and sale of investments in foreign currency, made material misrepresentations and omissions to investors, misappropriated customer funds, and spent investor monies on personal expenses, including, among other things, chartered aircraft trips, the purchase of luxury homes and automobiles, and a gambling trip to Las Vegas.
The CFTC obtained an initial order freezing O’Neill’s assets, and also successfully petitioned for a court-appointed Receiver to martial and manage those assets. The CFTC also obtained a consent preliminary injunction against O’Neill, who neither admitted nor denied any of the CFTC’s charges in consenting to its entry. The CFTC’s case, seeking a permanent injunction, customer repayment, civil penalties and other sanctions, continues.
The U.S. Attorney’s announcement indicates that, if convicted on all counts in the criminal action, O’Neill could be sentenced to a maximum of twenty years incarceration and a fine of $250,000 on each of the mail and wire fraud counts, and between ten and twenty years incarceration and additional fines on each of the money laundering charges.
O’Neill’s current whereabouts are unknown, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami requests that anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts please call Special Agent Ray Andjich, FBI Miami, at (305) 944-9101.
The CFTC is pleased to acknowledge the assistance provided by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida in the CFTC’s litigation. A copy of the CFTC complaint and restraining order may be obtained at www.cftc.gov.
Media Enforcement Contact:
Chief, Office of Cooperative Enforcement
CFTC Division of Enforcement
(202) 418- 5314
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