Release Number 5225-06

Release: 5225-06

For Release: September 5, 2006

South Florida Court Orders International Investments Holdings Corporation to Pay Over $12 Million in Restitution and Civil Penalties for Foreign Currency (Forex) Options Scam

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that the Honorable William P. Dimitrouleas, United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida, ordered defendant International Investments Holdings Corp. (IIHC) to pay $6,060,000 in restitution to victims of its fraud and a $6,060,000 civil monetary penalty, as a result of violating the Commodity Exchange Act.

The order of permanent injunction and judgment, entered on August 16, 2006, resolves charges against IIHC arising from the CFTC’s complaint in CFTC v. Doreen Valko, et al., 06 CV 60001 (S.D.Fla.). (See CFTC Press Release 5204-06, July 24, 2006.) The order finds that IIHC solicited the public for the offer and sale of illegal, off-exchange foreign currency (forex) options, generated false statements for customer accounts, and misappropriated customer funds.

The order also enters a permanent injunction against IIHC, which prohibits the defendant from engaging in any business activities related to commodity futures and options trading.

The CFTC complaint alleged that IIHC, a purported Bahamian corporation actually operating out of south Florida, and its president, Doreen Valko (of Coconut Creek, Florida) misappropriated and defrauded approximately 205 retail customers of at least $1.13 million while purportedly trading forex option contracts. To hide the misappropriation scheme, the complaint alleged IIHC and defendant Frank DeSantis (of Stuart, Florida) generated false statements for customer accounts, confirming the purported foreign currency options transactions. DeSantis was charged with knowingly aiding and abetting the creation and operation of IIHC by providing consulting and marketing services to both Valko and IIHC, among other things.

Relief Defendants Jason’s Roofing and Waterproofing, Inc., Joe Valko Enterprises, Inc., Certified Financial Services, Inc. and ERV & Associates, Inc. Ordered to Disgorge Ill-Gotten Gains.

In addition, the court order found that relief defendants Jason’s Roofing and Waterproofing, Inc., Joe Valko Enterprises, Inc., Certified Financial Services, Inc., and ERV & Associates, Inc. received funds from the defendants that were obtained through fraudulent activities, and for which the relief defendants did not provide any legitimate goods or services in exchange for the payments they received. The relief defendants were ordered to disgorge their respective ill-gotten gains in the following amounts: Jason’s Roofing and Waterproofing, Inc.: $529,340; Joe Valko Enterprises, Inc.:$70,116; Certified Financial Services, Inc.: $363,428; and ERV & Associates, Inc.: $124,024.

The CFTC’s litigation continues against Valko, DeSantis, and additional relief defendants.

The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Timothy J. Mulreany, David Reed, Mary Kaminski, Paul Hayeck, and Joan Manley.

Media Contacts
Alan Sobba

Dennis Holden

Last Updated: July 26, 2007