U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION CHARGES ILLINOIS RESIDENT CAMERON CHARLES WITH DEFRAUDING HIS EMPLOYER, WATSEKA FARMERS GRAIN CO. COOPERATIVE
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today the filing of a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Illinois against Cameron Charles of Watseka, Illinois. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Harold A. Baker.
The CFTC’s complaint alleges that Charles defrauded Watseka Farmers Grain Co. Cooperative (Watseka) by engaging in unauthorized and illegal speculative trading.
Specifically, according to the complaint, Charles, a Watseka manager, engaged in unauthorized and illegal speculative trades for Watseka in the soybean market between January and May 2004. The complaint further alleges that Charles concealed from and failed to disclose these trades to Watseka’s Board of Directors and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) by making misrepresentations and falsifying Watseka’s records to make it appear that Watseka was not at risk in the futures market.
The CFTC complaint further alleges that in mid-May 2004, a sharp decline in the soybean futures market caused Watseka to receive margin calls on the speculative long futures positions that Charles had created. As alleged, Watseka could not meet the margin calls, thus forcing Watseka into liquidation. According to the complaint, the liquidation resulted in a loss of at least $1 million to shareholders of Watseka, who were mainly local farmers.
The complaint also alleges that Charles solicited and accepted orders for futures transactions from local farmers that Charles executed through Watseka’s futures account. In so doing, the complaint alleges, Charles acted illegally as an associated person of a futures commission merchant without proper registration with the CFTC.
The CFTC’s action seeks restitution, monetary penalties and a permanent injunction, among other sanctions.
The CFTC’s investigation was done in coordination with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Attorney General’s office. The CFTC thanks those organizations for their efforts in this matter.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Mark Bretscher, Robert Greenwald, Merle Hampton, Scott Williamson, and Rosemary Hollinger.
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The CFTC encourages members of the public to bring to our attention any suspicious activities involving futures or commodity options, including matters involving foreign currency (forex) investments or suspicious Internet websites.
You may contact the CFTC at 1-866-FON-CFTC (1-866-366-2382), visit us at our Customer Protection web page: (www.cftc.gov/cftc/cftccustomer.htm), or fill out our Internet Report Form identifying your concerns (www.cftc.gov/enf/enfform.htm).
In addition, the CFTC publishes a series of Consumer Advisories at http://www.cftc.gov/cftc/cftccustomer.htm#advisory alerting the public to warning signs of possible fraudulent activity and offering precautions individuals should take before committing funds.
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