Release Number 7416-16

August 2, 2016

Federal Court in Illinois Orders John D. Briner, a Disbarred Canadian Attorney, and His Former Law Firm, MetroWest Law Corporation, to Pay $280,000 Penalty for a Money Pass Scheme

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Milton I. Shadur of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered an Order of Default Final Judgment (Order) against John D. Briner, a disbarred Canadian attorney who resides in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, and his former law firm, MetroWest Law Corporation (MetroWest), located in Vancouver, Canada, that now is under the custodianship of the Law Society of British Columbia. The Order imposes a civil monetary penalty of $280,000 and permanent registration, trading and solicitation bans on the Defendants as sanctions for their role in a money pass scheme.

The Court’s Order stems from a CFTC Complaint filed on April 14, 2015 (see CFTC Complaint and Press Release 7154-15, April 17, 2015).

The Order finds that Briner provided his co-defendant, Matthew J. Marcus (Marcus), with his unique password and login information for a trading account Briner had opened in the name of his law firm, MetroWest, and that Briner authorized Marcus to enter trades for the MetroWest account. The Order further finds that over seven consecutive trading days from January 28, 2014 to February 5, 2014, Marcus carried out a scheme, commonly known as a “money pass,” whereby he moved $390,000 from the MetroWest trading account to an account Marcus opened in the name of his company, Tech Power Inc. (Tech Power), through a series of 1,248 pre-arranged, non-competitive trades using single stock futures contracts on OneChicago LLC, an electronic futures exchange in Chicago, Illinois. The Order finds that under the Commodity Exchange Act (Act) and CFTC Regulations (Regulations), Briner and MetroWest are strictly liable as principals for the trading violations of their agent, Marcus, and finds Briner, as MetroWest’s sole owner and principal, liable as a control person for MetroWest’s trading violations.

The Order concludes the case. On July 7, 2016, the district court entered a separate Consent Order imposing a $250,000 civil monetary penalty and five-year registration, trading and solicitation bans against Marcus and Tech Power (see Order and CFTC Press Release 7403-16).

The CFTC thanks and acknowledges the assistance of the British Columbia Securities Commission. The CFTC’s Enforcement Division also appreciates the assistance of the CFTC’s Office of Chief Counsel staff Mary Lutz and Elizabeth Padgett and the assistance of OneChicago LLC’s regulatory staff.

CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Diane M. Romaniuk, Lindsey Evans, Melissa Cavers, Heather Johnson, Robert Howell, Scott Williamson, and Rosemary Hollinger.

Media Contact
Dennis Holden

Last Updated: August 2, 2016