Release Number 8840-23

Federal Court Orders Florida Man and His Company to Pay Over $102 million in Restitution and Penalties for Forex Fraud

December 20, 2023

— The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced Judge Carlos E. Mendoza of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida issued a default judgment granting a permanent injunction and imposing monetary sanctions against Florida resident Avinash Singh and his company, Highrise Advantage, LLC. The order resolves a civil enforcement action the CFTC brought on September 9, 2020, against Singh, Highrise, and eight other defendants in a multi-level, multi-million dollar off-exchange foreign currency (forex) scheme. [See CFTC Press Release No. 8246-20] (The case was amended on February 4, 2021 to add new facts learned about the extent of the fraud and an additional fraud charge.)

The order finds that Singh fraudulently solicited and misappropriated funds through master commodity pool Highrise and four feeder commodity pools; failed to register with the CFTC as required; and violated regulatory requirements relating to operating commodity pools.

The court’s order of default judgment and permanent injunction prohibits Singh and Highrise from engaging in conduct that violates the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged and orders them to pay $25,558,594 in restitution and $76,675,782 in civil monetary penalties. The order also permanently bans Singh and Highrise from registering with the CFTC and from trading on any registered entity.

On July 5, 2023, the court entered consent orders against the operators of the four feeder commodity pools SR&B Investment Enterprises, Inc., Green Knight Investments, LLC, Bull Run Advantage, LLC and King Royalty, LLC. and their operators Surujpal Sahdeo, Daniel Colegero, Randy Rosseau and Hemraj Singh, respectively. [See CFTC Press Release No. 8742-23] This order fully resolves the litigation.

Case Background

The order finds that Highrise and Singh collected almost $58 million from investors and feeder funds, but used less than $2.5 million for actual forex trading, misappropriating over $25 million and using investor funds to make Ponzi-type payments and pay personal expenses. The master pool sent statements to investors and feeder funds that falsely showed profits and no losses. 

Parallel Criminal Action

Singh was also indicted by the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida on February 17, 2021, for 10 counts of wire fraud and six counts of money laundering. He failed to appear at a scheduled hearing and was a fugitive from the law until recently being arrested in Florida on an outstanding warrant on October 19, 2023. The criminal case against Singh is pending before Judge Mendoza and Magistrate Judge Robert M. Norway.

The CFTC cautions that orders requiring repayment of funds to victims may not result in the recovery of any money lost because the 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 CFTC acknowledges and thanks the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, the National Futures Association, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for its assistance in this matter.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this action are Susan B. Padove, Joy H. McCormack, Ray Lavko, Stacie Pan, Phillip Johnson, Elizabeth M. Streit, Scott R. Williamson, Robert T. Howell and former employee Cristina Covarrubias.

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CFTC’s Forex Fraud Advisory

The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories and Articles that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory, which warns customers about a type of fraud that involves individuals and firms, often unregistered, offering investments in commodity pools, and the Forex Trading Fraud Advisory, to help customers identify these 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 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.