For Release: April 15, 2009
CFTC Charges Stuart Jones, Payton Lowe, and WeCorp., Inc. of Hilo and Honolulu, Hawaii with Operating $1.5 Million Ponzi Scheme
Court Orders Freeze of Defendants’ Assets
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that it charged Stuart W. Jones, Payton Lowe, and WeCorp, Inc. (WeCorp), all of Hilo and Honolulu, Hawaii, with soliciting approximately $1.5 million from more than 20 people to trade off-exchange foreign currency (forex) contracts, but instead used the money to lease a lavish Honolulu home, luxurious cars, and other purchases.
The CFTC’s lawsuit, filed under seal on April 9, 2009, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, charges that, since June 2008, Jones, Lowe, and WeCorp claimed to be experienced forex traders and promised to trade customer funds using an automated forex trading system that purportedly guaranteed monthly 100 percent returns with no risk of loss. In reality, the lawsuit alleges, Jones, Lowe, and WeCorp had no automated trading system, virtually no experience in trading forex, and lost money trading, and stole investor funds for personal gain.
The lawsuit further alleges that Jones, Lowe, and WeCorp provided investors with false statements showing consistent monthly profits when, in fact, nearly all customer funds had either been stolen by the three defendants or lost in forex trading.
CFTC Lawsuit Also Names Three Relief Defendants
In addition, Gary V. Dubin, of Honolulu, Gary Duck, of Vista, California, and Nathan P. Ramos, of Hilo are named in the complaint as relief defendants because they received funds as a result of defendants’ fraudulent conduct and have no legitimate entitlement to those funds.
At the request of the CFTC, on April 9, 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Philip Pro (sitting by designation for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii) froze the assets of Jones, Lowe, and WeCorp and permitted the CFTC to seize all relevant records in the possession of Jones, Lowe, and WeCorp. A status conference was set for April 14, 2009.
In its continuing litigation, the CFTC seeks restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, rescission, civil monetary penalties, and permanent injunctions against further violations of the federal commodities laws and against further trading.
The CFTC wishes to thank the State of Hawaii, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Office of the Commissioner of Securities and the Hilo Police Department for their assistance.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Jeff Le Riche, Jo Mettenburg, Jenny Chapin, Michael Loconte, Rick Glaser, and Richard Wagner.
Last Updated: April 15, 2009