Release Number 8821-23
Federal Court Orders Former New York City Resident to Pay Over $2.6 Million in Monetary Sanctions for Fraudulent Solicitation and Misappropriation in a Commodity Pool Scheme
November 06, 2023
Washington, D.C. — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered an order of final judgment against Mark A. Ramkishun, a former resident of Brooklyn, New York. The order resolves the CFTC’s January 9 lawsuit against Ramkishun and finds him liable for fraudulently soliciting investments in a purported commodity pool and misappropriating pool participants’ funds. [See CFTC Press Release No. 8646-23].
The court’s order of default judgment and permanent injunction prohibits Ramkishun from engaging in conduct that violates the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), orders him to pay $1,076,758 in restitution and a $1,566,977.07 civil monetary penalty. The order also permanently bans Ramkishun from registering with the CFTC and from trading on any registered entity.
In entering this order, the court found Ramkishun, acting as an unregistered commodity pool operator, fraudulently induced individuals in the United States to send him a total of approximately $1.69 million for investment in a supposed commodity pool called Leo Growl LLC. The court further found in the course of soliciting as well as after receiving pool participant funds, Ramkishun knowingly made fraudulent and material misrepresentations and omitted material facts about the use of those funds and the profits pool participants purportedly earned. For example, Ramkishun told some participants they could never lose their underlying investments in the pool. He also fabricated and distributed to pool participants fraudulent account statements showing consistent profits and growing account values based on his trading, when Ramkishun’s trading actually resulted in net trading losses of over $550,000. The court also found Ramkishun used less than half of the pool participant funds for trading and ultimately misappropriated a substantial portion of the funds for personal expenditures and to make Ponzi-type payments to pool participants using funds provided by other participants. In addition, the court found Ramkishun failed to operate the pool as a separate entity from himself and commingled his personal funds with pool participant funds in violation of CFTC regulations.
Parallel Criminal Action
In late 2022, Ramkishun was arraigned on a 56-count indictment, obtained by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York, based on much of the same conduct alleged in the CFTC’s action.
The Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this matter are Kara Mucha, Daniel Jordan, Rishi Gupta, Erica Bodin, and Rick Glaser.
CFTC’s Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory
The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories and Articles, including the Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory, which provides information 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 investing funds. If an entity is 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) or 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.