For Release: April 5, 1996
FLORIDA COURT ISSUES EX PARTE ASSET FREEZE ORDER IN CFTC ANTI-FRAUD ACTION AGAINST MICHAEL INDIHAR, ROBERT HOFFMAN, COMPUTER WAREHOUSE INC., AND AUTOMATED TRADING SYSTEMS -- ALL OF FLORIDA
Court's Action Stems from a CFTC Civil Action Charging the Defendants with Defrauding Commodity Pool Customers, and Converting Customer Funds to Personal Use, Among Other Violations
WASHINGTON -- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that on April 2, 1996, the Honorable Jose A. Gonzalez, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered an ex parte asset freeze order against Michael Indihar, of Jupiter, Florida; Robert P. Hoffman, of Wellington, Fla.; and Computer Warehouse Inc. (CWI) and Automated Trading Systems, Inc. (ATS) -- both Florida corporations based in Jupiter. Indihar is president of CWI and ATS, and Hoffman is vice president of both firms; none of the defendants has ever been registered with the CFTC in any capacity.
In addition to freezing the defendants' assets, the court order also prohibits the defendants from destroying books and records and from denying CFTC representatives access to such records for the Commission's ongoing investigation.
Defendants Are Charged with Defrauding Commodity Futures Investors, and Converting Customer Funds to Their Personal Use
The court's action stems from a civil injunctive complaint, filed on April 1, 1996, charging, among other things, that -- from at least July 1995 to the present -- the defendants have been engaged in the fraudulent solicitation and the acceptance of customer funds for investment in commodity futures contracts via a commodity pool that they allegedly operate, in violation of the anti-fraud and registration provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations.
The defendants, the CFTC complaint alleges, through their unlawful activity caused known losses of at least $17,000 to at least three customers, who were solicited and provided funds to the defendants purportedly to trade commodity futures contracts. The solicitations, according to the complaint, were made in person, by holding demonstrations and meetings, and by telephone calls.
The defendants allegedly cheated and defrauded customers by:
Furthermore, the defendants allegedly converted customer funds and commingled customer commodity investment funds with the defendants' personal funds. The defendants also failed to file required reports, disclosure documents and other records with the CFTC.
CFTC Seeks Permanent Injunctions and Civil Monetary Fines, Among other Sanctions, Against the Defendants
In its continuing litigation against the defendants, the CFTC is seeking preliminary and permanent civil injunctions prohibiting the defendants from violating the federal commodity laws as charged, in addition to other remedial relief, including:
The CFTC, in its investigation of this case, received substantial enforcement assistance from the Economic Crimes Unit of the Palm Beach County, Florida, State's Attorney Office; the Detective Bureau of the Jupiter, Florida, Police Department; and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. On April 3rd, Florida state authorities placed Indihar under arrest, executed a search warrant on the premises of CWI and ATSI, and seized evidence relating to the misconduct alleged in the CFTC's complaint, at the same time the Commission was serving its complaint and freeze order.