Release Number 7424-16
August 12, 2016
Federal Court in California Orders Ralph Metters, aka Malachai “Moe” Levy, to Pay a $500,000 Penalty and Disgorge $500,000 of Ill-Gotten Gains for Defrauding Investors in a Foreign Currency Scheme
In a Related Criminal Action, Metters Pleaded Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Was Sentenced to 108 Months of Imprisonment
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Manuel L. Real of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered a Consent Order settling CFTC charges against Defendant Ralph Metters, formerly of Los Angeles, California, imposing a $500,000 civil monetary penalty and requiring Metters to disgorge $500,000 of ill-gotten gains, in connection with off-exchange foreign currency (forex) fraud in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA). The Order also permanently enjoins Metters from further violations of the CEA, as charged, and imposes permanent trading and registration bans on him.
The Court’s Order, entered on August 8, 2016, stems from a CFTC enforcement Complaint filed on August 20, 2014 (see CFTC Complaint and Press Release 6987-14, August 29, 2014), charging Metters, also known as Malachai “Moe” Levy, with fraudulently soliciting $500,000 from a member of the public in connection with off-exchange forex transactions beginning in October 2013.
The Order finds that Metters falsely represented to investors that he would use their money to engage in forex investments, and their money would be kept in escrow until they authorized its use; victims accordingly invested at least $745,000. However, Metters took this invested amount out of escrow without investors’ permission, the Order finds, and knowingly misappropriated the funds.
In a Related Criminal Action, Metters Ordered to Pay $500,000 in Restitution
In a related criminal action involving, in part, some of the same conduct described above, Metters pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in United States of America v. Malachai Levy, aka Ralph Maurice Metters, No. 14-cr-00635 JFW (C.D. Cal.). On May 16, 2016, the Court sentenced Metters to 108 months of imprisonment, and ordered him to pay $500,000 restitution to the victim described above, as well as additional restitution to other victims of other criminal violations.
The CFTC cautions that Orders requiring repayment of funds to victims may not result in the recovery of any 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 appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this matter.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Jennifer E. Smiley, Mary Beth Spear, Ava M. Gould, Scott Williamson and Rosemary Hollinger.
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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.
Last Updated: August 12, 2016