Release Number 8406-21

Georgia Man Sanctioned for Fraudulent Scheme Attempting to Profit from COVID-19

July 08, 2021

— The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced today that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas entered a default judgment against Kenzley Ramos, a Georgia resident, for engaging in fraudulent solicitation, misappropriation, operation of an unlawful commodity pool, and failure to register with the CFTC.

The court’s order requires Ramos to pay $27,556 in restitution to the defrauded victims, and a civil monetary penalty of $82,668. The order also permanently enjoins Ramos from engaging in conduct that violates the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, registering with the CFTC, and trading in any CFTC-regulated markets.

Case Background

The court’s order stems from a 2020 enforcement action that charged Ramos with fraudulent solicitation, misappropriation, operation of an unlawful commodity pool, and failure to register with the CFTC. [See CFTC Press Release No. 8258-20]. The order finds that from at least December 2015 until the present, Ramos fraudulently solicited individuals across the country by using online advertisements and various aliases to further his ongoing scheme. He falsely represented himself as a highly successful and experienced binary options and foreign currency (forex) trader who could profit off market changes related to COVID-19. Ramos offered to pool money investors sent him to trade binary options and forex; rather than trade, however, he  misappropriated the money. Contrary to his solicitations, Ramos had no binary options or forex trading accounts.

This order ends the CFTC’s litigation against Ramos.

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

Parallel Criminal Action and State Actions

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas previously arrested Ramos on one count of commodities fraud. That case is pending. In addition, the Texas State Securities Board issued an emergency cease and desist order against Ramos on April 17, 2020, alleging securities fraud, misappropriation, and registration violations.

The Division of Enforcement acknowledges and thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and the Texas State Securities Board for their assistance in this matter.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this matter are Brett Shanks, J. Alison Auxter, Allison Sizemore, Jeff Le Riche, Christopher Reed, and Charles Marvine.

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CFTC’s Forex Fraud Advisory

The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Forex Trading Fraud Advisory, to help customers identify those scams.

The CFTC also strongly urges the public to verify a company’s or individual’s registration with the Commission before committing funds.  If unregistered, a customer should be wary of providing funds to that company or individual.  A company’s or individual’s registration status can be found using NFA BASIC.

Customers and other individuals can report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the Division of Enforcement via a toll-free hotline 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382) or file a tip or complaint online.