Release Number 6787-13
December 9, 2013
Federal Court in Austin, Texas Orders Australian Defendants to Pay over $192 Million in Restitution and Fines for Forex Fraud
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained a federal court default judgment Order awarding restitution for defrauded customers and civil monetary penalties of more than $192 million against Defendants Senen Pousa and Investment Intelligence Corporation (IIC) (d/b/a ProphetMax Managed FX) in connection with an off-exchange foreign currency (forex) fraud scheme in which Pousa and IIC defrauded over 960 clients in the United States and abroad of over $32 million.
Judge Lee Yeakel of the U.S. District Court for Western District of Texas entered the final default judgment and permanent injunction Order on November 27, 2013, requiring Pousa and IIC to pay restitution, plus prejudgment interest, totaling $33,299,821 to defrauded customers and Pousa and IIC each to pay a $79.5 million civil monetary penalty. The Order also imposes permanent trading and registration bans against Pousa and prohibits him from further violating the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and a CFTC regulation, as charged. The Order stems from a CFTC Complaint filed on September 18, 2012, that charged Pousa and IIC with fraud, misappropriation, and other CEA violations (see CFTC Press Release 6353-12).
The Order finds that, from at least January 1, 2012, IIC, through Pousa and its other agents, utilized “wealth creation” webcasts, webinars, podcasts, emails, and other online seminars via the Internet to directly and indirectly fraudulently solicit actual and prospective clients worldwide to open forex trading accounts at IIC. The Order further enters findings of fact and conclusions of law finding Pousa and IIC liable as to all violations, as alleged in the CFTC complaint.
The CFTC’s litigation in this action continues against Defendants Michael Dillard, Joel Friant, and Elevation Group, Inc.
The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, Hungarian Financial Supervisory Authority, Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets, Financial Markets Authority of New Zealand, and the New Zealand Serious Fraud Office.
Further, the CFTC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed a companion case, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this matter are Kyong Koh, Michael Amakor, JonMarc Buffa, Mary Lutz, Timothy J. Mulreany, and Paul Hayeck.
Receiver Contact Information
For updates regarding this case, the court-appointed Receiver, Guy Hohmann, Hohmann, Taube & Summers, L.L.P, Austin, Texas, will post the most current information on his website (see Related Links).
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CFTC Fraud Awareness Advisories & Prevention Information
The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including Foreign Currency Trading (Forex) Fraud. The CFTC Forex Fraud Advisory states that the CFTC has witnessed a sharp rise in Forex trading scams in recent years and this Advisory helps customers identify potential fraud. The Advisory states that the Forex market is volatile and carries substantial risks. The Forex market is not the place to put any money that you cannot afford to lose, such as retirement funds, as you can lose most or all it very quickly.
Customers can also report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the CFTC Division of Enforcement via a Toll-Free Hotline 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382) or an online form
Last Updated: December 9, 2013