For Release: April 19, 2007
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Charges South Carolinian Albert E. Parish, Jr. and His Company, Parish Economics, LLC in Multi-Million Dollar Commodity Pool Fraud
Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina against Albert E. Parish, Jr. and Parish Economics, LLC (Parish Economics), both of Summerville, South Carolina. The CFTC has also filed a motion for preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin the defendants from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations and granting access to all of the defendants’ books and records. The matter is pending before the Honorable David C. Norton, who has not set a date for a preliminary injunction hearing.
The CFTC complaint, filed April 17, 2007, alleges that Parish and his company Parish Economics, among other things, offered and sold interests in four investment pools. One of these pools, the Futures Pool, purportedly invested in “the commodity and stock futures and options markets.” Beginning in January 2003, the defendants misrepresented the total amount of funds contained in the investment pools as a whole and the total amount of funds invested in the Futures Pool individually, the complaint charges. Additionally, defendants purportedly provided Futures Pool participants with false periodic account statements showing that participants’ funds were invested in the Futures Pool when, in fact, such participants’ funds were misappropriated by the defendants.
Specifically, the defendants represented on their website, www.parisheconomics.com, and to an Investment Advisor (IA) that at the end of 2006 the total value of the investment pools was approximately $134 million, and that the value of the Futures Pool was approximately $52 million. On March 21, 2007, defendants provided the IA with a futures account trading statement purporting to show that the Futures Pool had an account value as of February 28, 2007, of approximately $52 million. However, according to the complaint, the defendants only had three open futures accounts that, as of February 28, 2007, had a cumulative value of only $120,000.
As further alleged, the defendants provided account statements to at least three Futures Pool participants that, in the aggregate, represented that the Futures Pool had a value of at least $407,243.93 at the end of 2005, $645,181.40 at the end of 2006, and $970,299.88 as of February 28, 2007. In reality, since January 1, 2005, the total value of Futures Pool assets never exceeded $150,000, the complaint alleges.
Finally, the complaint charges the defendants with failing to register with the CFTC and to operate the Futures Pool consistent with federal law.
In its continuing litigation against defendants, the CFTC is seeking permanent injunctive relief, return of funds to defrauded customers, repayment of ill-gotten gains, an award of civil penalties and imposition of a permanent commodities trading prohibition.
The CFTC thanks the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina for their assistance in this matter.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff are responsible for this case: Jo Mettenburg, Jeff LeRiche, Richard Glaser, and Richard Wagner.
Last Updated: May 8, 2007