Case Status Report: Equity Financial, Shasta, or Tech Traders

Status Updates and Court Documents for 2008 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004

2008 Final Update

Judge Robert Kugler conducted a trial against the remaining defendants, Equity Financial Group, Robert Shimer and Vincent Firth, from August 27 through September 6, 2007. On February 4, 2008, he issued an opinion and judgment finding for the Commission and against the defendants on all counts brought against them in the Commission’s First Amended Complaint. The judgment includes a permanent injunction against the defendants, prohibiting them from engaging in any business activities related to commodity futures or options trading. The judgment further orders disgorgement of ill-gotten gains totaling $2,514,930 (Equity ($612,500), Shimer ($1,452,117) and Firth ($450,313) and payment of a civil monetary penalties totaling $5,529,900 (Firth: $900,626, Shimer: $2,904,234 and Equity $1,725,040). The court found that the penalties were warranted by the egregious nature of the defendants’ roles in fraudulently soliciting millions of dollars from Shasta’s investors.

In its opinion, the court found that Equity, Shimer, and Firth fraudulently misrepresented and failed to disclose material information about their expertise, qualifications, background and compensation, their experiences in dealing with Tech Traders and their accountant. The court found that they recklessly misrepresented the performance of the Shasta commodity pool and the role of the independent CPA and accepted disbursements to which they were not entitled. The court also found that Shimer, an attorney, aided and abetted Equity’s failure to register with the CFTC as a commodity pool operator.

On February 19, 2008,Shimer appealed the judgment against him to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Firth did likewise on March 13, 2008 and Equity followed suit on May 15, 2008.

On June 4, 2008, the Court issued an amended judgment which awarded restitution totaling $4,132,635.81 to all Shasta investors whose claims were approved by the Court. This restitution is owed jointly and severally to Shasta’s investors by Equity, Shimer and Firth. On June 27, 2008, Shimer also filed a notice of appeal from the amended judgment which awarded restitution to investors.

Together with two prior court orders, the judgments resolve all remaining claims in the district court. On June 28, 2007, Judge Kugler entered an order that required defendants Coyt Murray and the four Gastonia, North Carolina companies he controlled, Tech Traders, Inc., Tech Traders, Ltd., Magnum Investments, Ltd., and Magnum Capital Investments, Ltd., to pay more than $30 million in restitution, disgorgement and civil monetary penalties. On July 7, 2006, the court ordered CPA J. Vernon Abernethy to pay $5 million in restitution and a $300,000 civil monetary penalty. These orders were entered with the consent of the defendants so they are final and will not be appealed.

Status Updates and Related Documents for 2008

July 1, 2008

June 27, 2008

June 12, 2008

June 6, 2008

  • Notice of Appeal by Equity Financial Group, LLC

June 5, 2008

  • Certified Order of the USCA staying the appeal pending disposition of the post decision motion

June 4, 2008

May 20, 2008

May 15, 2008

  • Notice of Appeal by Equity Financial Group, LLC

April 3, 2008

  • Trial Transcript Request by Vincent Firth

March 26, 2008

  • Certified Order of the USCA staying the appeal pending disposition of the post decision motion.

March 19, 2008

  • Letter from Vincent J. Firth asking to join Shimer’s appeal (Attachment: USCA Letter to District Court Clerk forwarding notice of appeal on behalf of Vincent J. Firth)

March 13, 2008

March 4, 2008

February 19, 2008

February 12, 2008

February 7, 2008

February 4, 2008

January 23, 2008

  • Certified Order of USCA denying the motion by appellant Alison E. Shimer for a stay or injunction pending appeal

January 7, 2008

  • Order granting CFTC motion in limine
  • Order entered by Judge Kugler denying the appeal by Menaker and Herrman, LLP and Witman Stadtmauer, P.A. of Magistrate Judge Donio’s order denying their motion to withdraw as counsel for defendant Equity Financial Group

Related Documents:

Media Contact:
Rosemary Hollinger
Associate Director and Regional Counsel
CFTC Division of Enforcement
525 West Monroe Street
Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60661
(No investor inquiries, please.)

Investor Inquiries:
Joy McCormack, Investigator
CFTC Division of Enforcement
525 West Monroe Street
Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60661
[email protected]

Receiver Contact and Claims Inquiries:
Stephen Bobo
Sachnoff & Weaver, Ltd.
30 South Wacker Drive
29th Floor
Chicago, IL 60606-7484

Last Updated: March 23, 2011