Release Number 8485-22

CFTC Orders Two Florida Men to Pay $280,000 for Registration and Reporting Violations

January 27, 2022

— The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and simultaneously settling charges against Dennis K. Thomas and John J. Bartoletta, both Florida residents, for registration and reporting violations under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations. Specifically, the order finds that Thomas acted as an unregistered associated person (AP) of a commodity pool operator (CPO) and failed to comply with requirements related to CPO reporting and recordkeeping, and Bartoletta acted as an unregistered AP of a CPO and as an unregistered commodity trading advisor (CTA). The order requires Thomas and Bartoletta to pay, jointly and severally, a $280,000 civil monetary penalty and to cease and desist from further violations of the CEA and CFTC regulations, as charged.

Case Background

The order finds that, beginning approximately August 2015 and continuing through March 2017, Thomas and Bartoletta operated a commodity pool through a now-defunct Florida-registered corporation called the Capital Trading Advisory Group LLC (CTAG), formerly of Seminole, Florida, and accepted funds from at least 35 individual participants. According to the order, Thomas was the sole owner of CTAG and acted as an unregistered AP by soliciting and collecting funds from pool participants for the CTAG pool. Thomas also served CTAG in a principal capacity, operated the CTAG pool under an invalid claim of exemption from certain CPO requirements, and failed to provide required pool disclosure statements and reports. 

The order further finds that Bartoletta furnished commodity trading advice to pool participants and directed trading in the custodial account holding CTAG participant funds while not registered as a CTA as required. Bartoletta also acted as an unregistered AP of CTAG by soliciting and collecting funds from prospective pool participants for the CTAG pool.

The CFTC thanks and acknowledges the assistance of the National Futures Association and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Tampa Field Office.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Nina Ruvinsky, Bryan Hsueh, Matthew Edelstein, Elizabeth N. Pendleton, Scott R. Williamson, and Robert T. Howell.

CFTC’s Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory

The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories, including the Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory, which warns customers about a type of fraud involving individuals and firms, often unregistered, offering investments in commodity pools.

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 entity. 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 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 CEA.