For Release:January 11, 1996


Tropiano d/b/a Ardmore Financial Services consents to entry of preliminary injunction freezing his assets and enjoining him from further violations of federal commodities and securities laws.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission today jointly filed a five-count civil injunctive complaint against Michael Tropiano of Haddonfield, New Jersey. Tropiano, a registered commodity trading advisor doing business under the name Ardmore Financial Services is charged in the complaint with fraud, conversion of customer funds, failing to register as a commodity pool operator, and broker-dealer registration violations. The charges violate sections 4b(a), 4m, 4o, and 9(a) of the Commodity Exchange Act, Section 5 and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1993, and Section 10(b) and 15(a) the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Simultaneous with the filing of the complaint, Tropiano consented to entry of a preliminary injunction against him, enjoining him from further violations of the provisions charged, and freezing his assets. The injunction also orders Tropiano to account for assets under his control.

The complaint, filed in federal district court in Camden, New Jersey, alleges that from 1989 through 1995, Tropiano solicited funds for investments in pools ostensibly formed for the purpose of trading commodity futures contracts. Tropiano raised approximately $2.9 million from 118 investors. After initially conducting some futures trading, Tropiano is alleged to have ceased trading the funds, and instead, used approximately $1.5 million from the investment pools to support his personal expenses. According to the complaint, Tropiano, however, continued to raise funds from investors by falsely representing that he was engaging in profitable trading, and issuing statements containing fictitious trading profits.

Approximately $350,000 of the remaining pool assets and $500,000 of Tropiano's personal assets which were purchased with proceeds of investor funds, have been frozen under the injunction and are being held in constructive trust for the benefit of the investors. The United States Attorney in Camden has filed a criminal complaint charging Tropiano with mail fraud for the activities that brought about the civil action.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Office of the United States Attorney in Camden, New Jersey, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this matter.

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