For Release: April 27, 2006
U.S. District Court Freezes Assets of South Florida Foreign Currency Firm First International Group, Inc. Based on Fraud Charges by U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
CFTC Alleges that First International Group and Two Brokers Made False and Misleading Sales Solicitations to Investors in Foreign Currency Options Contracts
Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that on April 18, 2006, the Honorable Adalberto Jordan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered a restraining order against defendant First International Group, Inc. (FIG) of Miami, Florida, freezing the company’s assets and preventing the destruction or alteration of its books and records. The restraining order also prohibits two of the firm's brokers, Michael Mesa and Tom Keesee, from destroying or altering any records pertaining to their activities at FIG.
The court’s order arises from a CFTC complaint filed on April 17, 2006. The complaint alleges that, since at least June 2004, FIG, through its brokers, including Mesa and Keesee, made fraudulent solicitations that trading foreign currency (forex) options contracts would result in large profits in a short period of time. They are also charged with fraudulently failing to inform customers (and prospective customers) that the vast majority of FIG customers who traded closed their accounts at a loss.
According to the complaint, 93 percent of FIG’s customers lost money, and approximately two-thirds of the customers lost virtually all of their funds.
In its ongoing litigation, the CFTC is seeking a permanent injunction against FIG, Mesa, and Keesee, as well as restitution, disgorgement of ill- gotten gains, and civil penalties.
The CFTC appreciates the cooperation and assistance of the Florida Bureau of Financial Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members were responsible for this case:Robert J. Hildum, Peter M. Haas, Kyong J. Koh, Paul G. Hayeck, and Joan Manley.
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The CFTC encourages members of the public to bring to our attention any suspicious activities involving futures or commodity options, including matters involving foreign currency (forex) investments or suspicious Internet websites.
You may contact the CFTC at 1-866-FON-CFTC (1-866-366-2382), visit us at our Customer Protection web page: (/cftc/cftccustomer.htm), or fill out our Internet Report Form identifying your concerns (/enf/enfform.htm).
In addition, the CFTC publishes a series of Consumer Advisories at /cftc/cftccustomer.htm#advisory alerting the public to warning signs of possible fraudulent activity and offering precautions individuals should take before committing funds.
Last Updated: April 12, 2007