For Release: December 12, 2006
South Florida Court Orders Three Barcelona-Based Companies to Pay Over $19 Million in Disgorgement and Civil Penalties for Foreign Currency (Forex) Options Scam
Harrington Advisory Services, SL, Richmond Royce Advisory Services, SLU, and Stratford Advisory Services Engaged in a Common Enterprise to Defraud Customers and Misappropriate Funds
Washington, D.C.— The Honorable Cecilia M. Altonaga, United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida, entered judgment against Barcelona-based companies Harrington Advisory Services, SL, Richmond Royce Advisory Services, SLU, and Stratford Advisory Services (collectively “the defendants”), ordering them jointly and severally to pay $9,555,041 in disgorgement, and to pay civil monetary penalties in the following amounts: Harrington Advisory Services, $4 million; Richmond Royce Advisory Services, $4 million; and Stratford Advisory Services, $1.5 million.
The order, entered on November 30, 2006, resolves charges against the defendants arising from the CFTC’s complaint in CFTC v. Berkshire International, et. al., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Case No.: 05-61588-CIV-Altonaga/Turnoff (see CFTC Press Release 5148-05, December 22, 2005).
According to the order, since July 2003, the defendants engaged in a common enterprise with additional defendants not subject to the order, International Berkshire Group Holdings, Inc., Berkshire International LLC, International IMS Group Holdings, Inc., IMS Holdings, LLC, and Oakmont International LLC, wherein they defrauded prospective and actual customers by making various misrepresentation and omissions and cheated them by misappropriating their funds.
As found by the court, “[T]he money trail associated with the [enterprise] leads to the inescapable conclusion that no trading activity was actually occurring. Rather, a substantial majority of the funds were sent to offshore accounts in a sporadic manner never to be returned to customers.” As well, because the foreign currency options offered by and solicited through the defendants were not conducted or executed on a contract market or foreign board of trade, they were illegally offered in violation of CFTC regulations.
Relief Defendants FED and Associates, LLC, Briscoe and Associates, Inc. and International Investments Holdings Corp. Ordered to Disgorge Ill-Gotten Gains
In addition, the court order found that relief defendants FED and Associates, LLC, Briscoe and Associates, Inc., and International Investments Holdings Corp. (collectively the “relief defendants”) received funds from the defendants that were obtained through fraudulent activities, and for which the relief defendants did not provide any legitimate goods or services in exchange for the payments they received. The relief defendants were ordered to disgorge their respective ill-gotten gains in the following amounts: FED and Associates, LLC, $155,000; Briscoe and Associates, Inc., $7,975; and International Investments Holdings Corp., $1.35 million.
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 22, 2010