Release: 5548-08

For Release: September 18, 2008

Joseph Clark Lavin and His Companies Ordered to Pay More Than $23 Million in Restitution and Civil Monetary Penalties in Retail Foreign Currency Options Case

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that it obtained an order imposing more than $23 million in restitution and civil monetary penalties against defendants Joseph Clark Lavin (a/k/a Joseph Ivcevic) and his companies: Global Asset Partners, LTD (a/k/a/, Global Asset Partners, LLC), Global Currency Trading Group, LLC, and Global Currency Trading Fund, LLC of Woodinville, Washington, for defrauding customers in an illegal foreign currency (forex) options scheme.

The Honorable Robert S. Lasnik, U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington, ordered the defendants to pay $11,612,538.55 in restitution and a $11,612,538.55 civil monetary penalty. The order also permanently prohibits the defendants from engaging in any business activities related to commodity futures and options trading. The court’s order and judgment resolve all charges against the defendants arising from the CFTC’s complaint in CFTC v. Joseph Clark Lavin, et al., 07-CV-01185 RSL (W.D.Wa.) and enters judgment in favor of the CFTC as to all claims asserted against the defendants. (See CFTC News Release 5367-07, August 2, 2007.)

Specifically, the court found that, beginning on or about January 2001 through January 2007, Lavin, individually, and as the agent of his Global companies, defrauded customers of more than $11.5 million by soliciting retail customers throughout the United States, Canada, France, and Panama to purchase foreign currency (forex) options contracts. Lavin told potential customers that their funds earned profits of 2.5 percent monthly, and he failed to disclose that the defendants were, in effect, misappropriating one percent of customer funds monthly as commissions. The defendants also issued false reports to customers, representing “profits” and concealing the misappropriated commissions.

Relief Defendants Prosperitas International Credit Union and Wendy Anderson Ordered to Disgorge More Than $3.9 Million in Ill-Gotten Gains

The court previously found that relief defendants Prosperitas International Credit Union (Prosperitas) and Wendy Anderson 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. The relief defendants were ordered to disgorge more than $3.9 million in ill-gotten gains from the scheme, specifically: Prosperitas and Anderson were ordered to disgorge $3,934,005.53 and $5,897.32, respectively.

The CFTC wishes to thank the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, and the Seattle offices of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service for their cooperation in this matter.

The following Division of Enforcement staff was responsible for this case: Timothy J. Mulreany, David Reed, Michael Amakor, Paul Hayeck, and Joan Manley.

Media Contacts
Ianthe Zabel

Dennis Holden

Last Updated: September 18, 2008