Release: 5251-06

For Release: October 26, 2006

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Permanently Prohibits Defendant in CFTC Anti-Fraud Action from Commodity Futures and Options Trading

Court Finds that Leiza Fitzgerald, Wife of Raymond Fitzgerald, Jr., Violated the Commodity Exchange Act

Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary S. Scriven of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida entered a permanent injunction against defendant Leiza Fitzgerald, ordering her to pay a $25,000 civil monetary penalty and permanently prohibiting her from engaging in any business activities related to commodity futures and options trading.

The order, entered on remand on October 19, 2006, resolves charges against Leiza Fitzgerald arising from the CFTC’s amended complaint in CFTC v. R. J. Fitzgerald & Co., Inc., et al., 99 CV 1558 (M.D. Fla.) (see CFTC Press Release 4285-99, July 8, 1999). The amended complaint alleged that R. J. Fitzgerald & Co., Inc. (RJFCO), a Florida corporation with offices in Tampa and Key West, Florida; Raymond Fitzgerald, Jr., of Clearwater Beach, Florida; and his wife Leiza Fitzgerald, also of Clearwater Beach violated the anti-fraud provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) in connection with the solicitation and offer or sale of commodity futures and options contracts.

Earlier, in October 2002, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found that defendants RJFCO, Leiza Fitzgerald, and Raymond Fitzgerald violated the anti-fraud provisions of the CEA as a matter of law in CFTC v. RJ Fitzgerald & Co., 310 F. 3d 1321, 1328 (11th Cir.) rehearing en banc denied, 103 Fed. Appx. 668, 2004), cert. denied, U.S. 1034, 125 S. Ct. 808, 160 L. Ed. 2d 597, 2004). According to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, when brokers solicit customers with “rosy” claims of profit potential while, in reality, 95% of the firm’s customers are losing money, the failure to disclose such an abysmal track record is a material omission and violates the CEA.

The CFTC’s litigation in this matter is still continuing with respect to defendants RJFCO and Raymond Fitzgerald, Jr.

The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Timothy J. Mulreany, Paul Hayeck, and Joan Manley.

Media Contacts
Alan Sobba

Dennis Holden

Last Updated: April 8, 2007