For Release: July 24, 2006
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Charges Florida Residents Doreen R. Valko and Frank Desantis and Their Company with Defrauding Customers of More than $1.1 Million
CFTC Charges that Defendants Defrauded More than 200 Customers in Connection with Commodity Options Contracts
Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that it filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, charging that International Investments Holdings Corp. (IIHC) fraudulently misappropriated customer funds solicited by the defendants to trade foreign currency options. The matter has been assigned to the Honorable Judge Dimitrouleas, United States District Judge.
The CFTC complaint, filed on January 4, 2006, but sealed by the court for several months, alleges that defendant IIHC, a purported Bahamian corporation actually operating out of south Florida, and its president, Doreen Valko, of Coconut Creek, Florida, misappropriated and defrauded approximately 205 retail customers of at least $1.13 million while purportedly trading foreign currency options.
To hide the misappropriation, the complaint alleges, IIHC and Frank DeSantis of Stuart, Florida, generated false statements for customer accounts, confirming the purported foreign currency options transactions. Defendant DeSantis is charged with knowingly aiding and abetting the creation and operation of IIHC by providing consulting and marketing services to both Valko and IIHC, among other things.
District Court Issues Statutory Restraining Order
On January 4, 2006, the Honorable Judge Dimitrouleas issued an order freezing defendants’ assets, prohibiting the destruction of books and records, requiring the repatriation of defendants’ offshore assets and requiring the defendants to provide an accounting of all of their assets. The court’s order was recently unsealed.
The complaint also names fourteen relief defendants: Jason Todd Dean, Tara Lyn Dean, Erin DeSantis a.k.a. Erin Rose Valko, Joseph Valko, Jeffrey P. Jedlicki, Tirtza Jedlicki, Thomas W. Yoos, Jr., Certified Financial Services, Inc., John Taddeo Enterprises, Inc., ERV & Associates, Inc., Joe Valko Enterprises, Inc., Boot Camp Diet & Fitness, Inc., American Lighthouse Trading, Inc., and Jason’s Roofing and Waterproofing, Inc. The relief defendants are charged only with receiving or holding funds from an illegal scheme, and are not charged with liability for the scheme.
In its ongoing litigation, the CFTC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against all defendants, repayment to defrauded customers, the return of ill-gotten gains, and monetary penalties for violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Office of Statewide Prosecution.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Timothy J. Mulreany, David Reed, Mary Kaminski, Paul Hayeck, and Joan Manley.
Last Updated: April 8, 2007