Release Number 8660-23

CFTC Charges California-based Company and Its CEO with Fraudulent Solicitation and Misappropriation of Digital Asset Commodities

February 16, 2023

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced today it has charged Vista Network Technologies (Vista), a California-based company, and its CEO, Armen Temurian (Temurian), with fraudulent solicitation and misappropriation of customers’ digital asset commodities. In the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the CFTC alleges the defendants fraudulently solicited over $7 million worth of bitcoin and ether from customers. The complaint also alleges the defendants misappropriated a portion of these assets in a Ponzi-like scheme.

In its continuing litigation against the defendants, the CFTC seeks restitution, disgorgement, civil monetary penalties, permanent trading and registration bans, and a permanent injunction against further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, as charged.

“This action demonstrates our ongoing commitment to use the tools at our disposal to hold bad actors accountable in the digital asset space,” said CFTC Acting Director of Enforcement Gretchen Lowe. “It is just one more example of the CFTC’s efforts to protect retail customers from fraud related to digital asset commodities.”

Case Background

The complaint alleges from approximately September 2017 through January 2018, the defendants falsely advertised to customers that Vista would trade their digital assets and earn a 2.5% daily return or “double in just 80 days.” The defendants represented they would trade investors’ bitcoin and ether using “Robot Traders.” The complaint alleges the defendants’ representations were false because the defendants had never traded customer assets and did not have any trading program capable of generating the promised returns.

Instead, the complaint alleges, the defendants engaged in a Ponzi-like scheme, whereby they used new investors’ assets to pay returns to investors who had invested earlier in the scheme.

Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Sam Wasserman, Katie Rasor, Michael Cazakoff, Steven Ringer, Lenel Hickson, Jr., and Manal M. Sultan.