March 20, 2018
Federal Court Orders Former Church Pastor Wesley Allen Brown, Maverick International, Inc., and Edward Rubin to Pay More than $8.6 Million for Commodity Fraud Scheme that Preyed on Church Congregation
Brown Is Currently Serving a Seven and One-Half Year Prison Sentence in Florida
Washington, DC — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Brian J. Davis of the Middle District of Florida has ordered Defendants Maverick International, Inc. (Maverick), and its principals Edward Rubin and Wesley Allen Brown to pay $8,605,274.92 in combined restitution and civil monetary penalties for commodity futures fraud, commodity pool fraud, and related violations of federal commodity laws. Maverick purportedly maintains offices in Wilmington, Delaware and Rubin resides in Winnabow, North Carolina. Brown was a resident of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and is currently incarcerated in Florida, serving a seven and one-half year sentence for securities fraud, embezzlement, and other crimes related to the conduct at issue in the CFTC’s action.
The restitution and civil monetary penalty awards result from the Court’s entry of a Supplemental Consent Order between the CFTC and Defendants Maverick and Rubin, as well as an Order entering summary judgment against Brown. Together, the court’s rulings require the Defendants to pay $2,151,318.73 in restitution and a $6,453,956.19 civil monetary penalty. Of those amounts, Rubin is jointly and severally liable for $500,000 in restitution and $140,000 of the civil monetary penalty, while Maverick is jointly and severally liable for $2,065,178 in restitution and the entire civil monetary penalty. Brown is jointly and severally liable for the full $8,605,274.92 amount.
The Orders follow a March 23, 2015, CFTC Complaint alleging that the Defendants engaged in a fraudulent scheme to solicit funds for a purported commodity pool trading futures contracts and precious metals (see CFTC Press Release 7147-15). According to the Order, Brown used his role as a pastor of a Flagler Beach, Florida, church to defraud church members by convincing them to deposit funds with the Defendants. In imposing the civil monetary penalty on Brown, the Court considered his “trusted position as a pastor” and his “defrauding of elderly church members.”
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 Office of the State Attorney for the Seventh Judicial District of Florida; the Florida Office of Financial Regulation; the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida; the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, Securities Division; the Sherriff’s Department, Brunswick County, North Carolina; and the City of North Myrtle Beach, Department of Public Safety.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this action are Timothy J. Mulreany, George Malas, Daniel J. Grimm, and Paul G. Hayeck.
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CFTC’s Fraud Advisories
The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of 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.