Release: 5437-08

For Release: January 16, 2008

CFTC Charges Argentine Trader with Defrauding More Than 400 Customers Worldwide in a $43.8 Million Investment Scheme

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today filed a federal law suit against Diego Mariano Rolando of Buenos Aires, Argentina (a/k/a Roclerman and ROC d/b/a IA, Inc.), charging Rolando with defrauding hundreds of customers worldwide in a $43.8 million investment scheme.

“While the continuing growth of the internet and electronic communications systems expand investment opportunities for customers around the globe, it also means new opportunities for unscrupulous crooks to try to take advantage of investors,” said CFTC Director of Enforcement Gregory Mocek. He added, “The filing of this case should send notice to the villains of cyberspace that they cannot hide behind a monitor in a virtual world. The investigations that go on in the real world are conducted with the protection of the entire global investing community in mind.”

In filing the two-count enforcement action, the CFTC alleges that Rolando: 1) fraudulently traded customer funds in commodity futures and options contracts; 2) provided false account statements to customers; and 3) supplied false customer contact information to a U.S. clearing firm to hide his fraudulent scheme from customers. In all, the complaint alleges that Rolando solicited approximately $43.8 million from more than 400 customers in South America, Europe, and the United States.

Specifically, the law suit filed on January 15, 2008, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, alleges that Rolando utilized the websites and to solicit customers to open trading accounts. He allegedly told customers that he would trade securities on their behalf; however, he traded tens of millions of dollars in customer funds in commodity futures and options contracts, without customer knowledge or authorization to trade in the commodity markets. Indeed, according to the complaint, it appears that some customers signed and completed account documents which limited the defendant’s authority to trade securities.

The complaint also charges that to further promote his scheme, Rolando provided false customer contact information and false trading advisor names to the U.S. clearing firm holding customers’ accounts and clearing trades to circumvent customer protection policies and programs. Rolando provided false contact information on as many as 200 of the 420 customer accounts, as alleged.

Finally, Rolando is charged with providing his customers with written materials containing misrepresentations and omissions of material fact regarding their investments and IA’s role and business relationship with the U.S. clearing firm.

The CFTC is seeking a permanent injunction, restitution to defrauded customers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and a civil monetary penalty, among other sanctions.

In conjunction with this action, on January 15, 2008, the Honorable Peter C. Dorsey, U.S. District Court Judge, issued a statutory restraining order freezing Rolando’s assets and all customer accounts traded by Rolando at the U.S. clearing firm. The court has scheduled a preliminary injunction hearing in this matter for January 24, 2008.

The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Jo Mettenburg, Kenneth McCracken, Charles Marvine, David Acevedo, Joseph Rosenberg, and Richard Glaser.

Media Contacts
Ianthe Zabel

Dennis Holden

Last Updated: January 16, 2008