Release Number 8411-21
Federal Court Orders Texas and Florida Men to Pay Nearly $1.75 Million in Digital Assets Scheme
August 10, 2021
Washington, D.C. — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that Judge Sim Lake, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, entered a consent order against Mayco Alexis Maldonado Garcia, and a separate consent order against Cesar Castaneda and Joel Castaneda Garcia.
The orders impose a permanent injunction and permanently ban the defendants from registering with the CFTC and from trading commodity interests. The orders also require the defendants to pay $989,550 in restitution, Mayco Alexis Maldonado Garcia to pay a civil monetary penalty of $400,000, and Cesar Castaneda and Joel Castaneda Garcia to each pay a civil monetary penalty of $180,000.
The consent order resolves the CFTC’s case against these defendants, which was filed in the Southern District of Texas on September 14, 2020. [See CFTC Press Release No. 8241-20] The CFTC’s litigation continues against a fourth defendant, Rodrigo Jose Castro Molina.
The consent order finds that from at least August 2016 through October 2017, the defendants and others falsely represented to actual and potential customers that their business, Global Trading Club (GTC), employed “master traders” who had years of experience trading “crypto currency,” and used “cutting edge trading robots” to trade Bitcoin for customers “24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” The defendants further falsely represented that customer earnings would increase based on the amount of their deposit and that GTC would award bonuses to customers who referred others to the GTC business. Additionally, to conceal their fraud, the defendants caused misleading trading statements to be posted online.
The complaint further alleges that during the same period, at least 27 individual customers deposited at least $989,000 with one or more representatives of GTC.
The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Maura Viehmeyer, Erica Bodin, James A. Garcia, Aimée Latimer-Zayets, and Rick Glaser.
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), file a tip or complaint online or contact the CFTC Whistleblower Office. Whistleblowers are eligible to receive between 10 and 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected paid from the Customer Protection Fund financed through monetary sanctions paid to the CFTC by violators of the Commodity Exchange Act.