Release Number 6850-14
February 5, 2014
Federal Court in Florida Orders James Burbage, Frank Gaudino, and Their Companies to Pay over $5 Million in Restitution and Penalties to Settle Charges Related to Illegal, Off-Exchange Precious Metals Transactions
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami entered a final judgment and permanent injunction Order against Florida residents James Burbage and Frank Gaudino and their companies, Lloyds Commodities, LLC, Lloyds Commodities Credit Company, LLC, and Lloyds Services, LLC (the Lloyds Defendants), who the CFTC had sued for their role in a multi-million dollar precious metals scheme orchestrated by Hunter Wise Commodities, LLC and related companies (Hunter Wise) (see CFTC Press Release 6447-12 and the Complaint).
The Order, entered on February 5, 2014, requires the Lloyds Defendants to pay a civil monetary penalty of $2,215,000, and Burbage and Gaudino to pay civil penalties of $423,000 and $263,000, respectively. The Order also requires the Lloyds Defendants to pay restitution for the benefit of customers totaling $1,476,690, and Burbage and Gaudino to pay restitution of $423,000 and $263,000, respectively. The Order specifies that the restitution payments are to be made to Melanie Damian, a Court-appointed Special Monitor and Corporate Manager, in the name of the “Hunter Wise Settlement/Restitution Fund.” The Order also imposes permanent solicitation, trading, and registration bans on the Lloyds Defendants, Burbage, and Gaudino and prohibits them from further violating the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged.
The Order finds that, from at least July 16, 2011 until February 25, 2013, the Lloyds Defendants, operating under the common ownership and control of Burbage and Gaudino, held themselves out as a “leading wholesaler of precious metals,” such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and copper. According to the Order, the Lloyds Defendants acted as an intermediary that accepted orders and funds from customers of telemarketing firms for the purchase of physical precious metals on a leveraged basis (retail commodity transactions). The Order finds that the Lloyds Defendants would then transmit the customer orders and funds to Hunter Wise. The Order further finds that the Lloyds Defendants also recruited telemarketing firms to solicit retail customers until February 25, 2013, when the Court entered a preliminary injunction Order against Hunter Wise, the Lloyds Defendants, Burbage, Gaudino, and the other Defendants named in the CFTC Complaint (see CFTC Press Release 6522-13 and Order).
The Order finds that the Lloyds Defendants, Burbage, and Gaudino confirmed the execution of, and conducted an office or business in the United States for the purpose of accepting orders for, or otherwise dealing in, retail commodity transactions, thereby violating the requirement of the CEA that such retail commodity transactions be made or conducted on, or subject to, the rules of a regulated exchange.
The CFTC’s litigation continues against Hunter Wise and its principals, as well as the firms from whom the Lloyds Defendants received customer orders and funds.
The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Carlin Metzger, Heather Johnson, Brigitte Weyls, Jeff Le Riche, Peter Riggs, Thaddeus Glotfelty, Joseph Konizeski, Scott Williamson, Rosemary Hollinger, and Richard B. Wagner.
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CFTC’s Precious Metals Customer Fraud Advisory
The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Precious Metals Fraud Advisory, which alerts customers to precious metals fraud and lists simple ways to spot precious metals scams.
Customers can 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 file a tip or complaint online.
Last Updated: February 5, 2014