Washington, D.C. — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that Judge Gregory A. Presnell of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida issued an order granting a permanent injunction against Ronald Montano, a resident of St. Cloud, Florida, and Montano Enterprises LLC (MEL), and requiring them to pay a combined $2.5 million in restitution and civil monetary penalty for solicitation fraud in connection with binary options trading.
The order specifically requires Montano and MEL to pay restitution in the amount of $825,000 and a civil monetary penalty of $1.675 million. Montano and MEL are also ordered to cease and desist from further violating the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, from trading on or subject to the rules of any CFTC-registered entity, and from engaging in any activities requiring registration with the CFTC.
The court’s order stems from a CFTC complaint filed on September 27, 2018, charging Montano and MEL with solicitation fraud in connection with binary options trading. [See CFTC Press Release No. 7807-18]
The order finds that Montano used fraudulent solicitations in emails, websites, and video sales letters promising free access to purportedly successful automated trading systems that traded on behalf of clients in binary options involving commodity interests. These solicitations misrepresented hypothetical and fictitious trading results as real results, used fabricated customer testimonials, and misstated the experience, background, and skill of the “creators” of these automated trading systems.
The CFTC cautions victims that restitution orders may not result in the recovery of 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 the wrongdoers are held accountable.
The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Nina Ruvinsky, Ben Sedrish, Joseph Patrick, Allison Passman, Scott Williamson, Brigitte Weyls, Robert Howell, and former staff member Barry Blankfield.
CFTC’s Binary Options Fraud Advisories
The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Binary Options and Fraud Advisory, which alerts customers to this type of fraud and list simple ways to spot it.
The CFTC also strongly urges the public to verify a company’s registration with the CFTC before committing funds. If unregistered, a customer should be wary of providing funds to that company. A company’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), 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 CFTC Customer Protection Fund financed through monetary sanctions paid to the CFTC by violators of the CEA.