Release Number 7043-14

October 24, 2014

CFTC Obtains Default Judgment against Texas-Based Financial Robotics, Inc. for Fraudulent Forex Scheme

Federal Court Orders Defendant to Pay More than $3 Million in Restitution and a Monetary Penalty in CFTC Anti-Fraud Action

Washington, DC — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Lee H. Rosenthal of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas entered an Order of default judgment and permanent injunction against Defendant Financial Robotics, Inc. (FinRob), a Texas corporation. The court’s Order requires FinRob to pay restitution of $827,000 and a civil monetary penalty of $2,481,000. The Order also imposes permanent trading and registration bans against FinRob and prohibits it from violating provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act, as charged.

The Order, entered on October 9, 2014, stems from a CFTC Complaint filed on June 29, 2011 (see CFTC Press Release 6067-11). The Order finds that, from at least June 2008, FinRob, and its controlling person, Defendant Mark E. Rice, operated a fraudulent scheme that solicited approximately $1.7 million from one individual to trade leveraged off-exchange foreign currency contracts. According to the Order, Defendants falsely told their customer, among other things, that his investment was “risk free” and insured against loss and that the return of his principal was guaranteed. The Order further finds that Defendants misappropriated at least $576,000 of customer funds by transferring the money to unrelated Rice-controlled companies, and thereafter spending at least $404,000 of those funds for Rice’s personal and business expenses.

CFTC Previously Settled with Defendant Rice

Previously, on January 13, 2014, the court entered a Consent Order of permanent injunction against Defendant Rice, requiring him to pay a combined total of $1.5 million in restitution and a civil monetary penalty, among other sanctions, to settle the CFTC action (see CFTC Press Release 6828-14).

The CFTC cautions victims that restitution orders may not result in the recovery of money lost because the wrongdoers may not have sufficient funds or assets. The CFTC will continue to fight vigorously for the protection of customers and to ensure the wrongdoers are held accountable.

The CFTC thanks the National Futures Association, the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets, and the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority for their assistance.

CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Kevin S. Webb, Michelle S. Bougas, James H. Holl, III, and Gretchen L. Lowe.

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CFTC’s Foreign Currency (Forex) Fraud Advisory

The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Foreign Currency Trading (Forex) Fraud Advisory, which states that the CFTC has witnessed a sharp rise in Forex trading scams in recent years and helps customers identify this potential fraud.

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. 

Media Contact
Dennis Holden

Last Updated: October 24, 2014