Release Number 8819-23

CFTC Charges Illinois Man and His Firm for Operating a Fraudulent Retail Forex Commodity Pool

November 03, 2023

Washington, D.C. — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced it filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Coby Young and his firm, Young Emerging Strategies LLC, both of Illinois. The complaint charges the defendants with fraud in connection with leveraged, margined, or financed retail foreign currency transactions (retail forex), fraud by a commodity pool operator, registration violations, disclosure and recordkeeping violations, and commingling pool property. 

In its complaint, the CFTC seeks restitution to pool participants, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, permanent trading and registration bans, and a permanent injunction against further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged. 

Case Background

The complaint alleges, from at least August 2019 through the present, the defendants directly solicited individuals via a website, social media, and in person to participate in retail forex trading classes. The defendants approached certain class participants to join a retail forex trading pool operated by the defendants. The defendants received approximately $300,000 from pool participants by promising, among other things, to double the investments of many or all of the pool participants through retail forex trading. However, the defendants misappropriated the majority of the funds for personal expenses, cash withdrawals, and payments to other pool participants. The defendants also failed to register with the CFTC, provide necessary disclosures to pool participants, and keep required records.

The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

The Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this matter are Elsie Robinson, Monique McElwee, Nicholas Sloey, Christopher Reed, and Charles Marvine. Former Division of Enforcement intern Logan Jeffers also assisted in this matter.

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CFTC’s Forex Fraud and Commodity Pool Advisories

The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories and Articles that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Foreign Currency (Forex) Trading Fraud Advisory and the Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory, which provide information about how customers can detect, avoid, and report scams.

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 Whistleblower Office. Whistleblowers may be 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.