March 4, 2019
Federal Court Orders Purported Metals Dealer and His Companies to Pay More Than $8 million for Fraud and Misappropriation of Customer Funds in CFTC Action
Washington, DC — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that a Florida federal court ordered Carlos Javier Ramirez (Ramirez) and his companies, Royal Leisure International, Inc. (RLI) and Gold Chasers, Inc. (GCI), to pay restitution and civil monetary penalties for fraudulently soliciting customers to purchase physical gold and misappropriating their funds.
The February 5th Order specifically requires Ramirez and RLI to make restitution of $1,980,858 to customers and to pay a civil monetary penalty of $5,942,574; and Ramirez and GCI, to make restitution payments of $761,831 and to pay a civil monetary penalty of $2,285,493. The Order also imposes trading, solicitation and registration bans against Defendants, and a permanent injunction that prohibits them from engaging in future violations of the federal commodities laws and regulations, as charged.
The Court’s Order stems from a CFTC Complaint filed on February 13, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. [See CFTC Press Release 7532-17]. In the Order, Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr. found that Ramirez, GCI and RLI misappropriated customer funds and engaged in fraudulent sales solicitations in connection with the purported purchase of physical gold. The Order also found that, Ramirez, GCI and RLI obtained almost $3 million from customers in connection with both schemes. Of that amount, the Order found, the defendants paid false profits to some customers, in the manner of a Ponzi scheme, and misappropriated more than 90 percent of their customers’ funds. Finally, the Order found, that Ramirez was a controlling person of GCI and RLI, and is therefore liable for their violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.
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 that wrongdoers are held accountable.
The CFTC appreciates the cooperation and assistance in this matter of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this case are Glenn Chernigoff, Michael Loconte, Michael Solinsky and Rick Glaser.
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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.