April 12, 2010

CFTC Charges Florida Resident Claudio Aliaga and His Company, CMA Capital Management, LLC, with Operating a Foreign Currency Ponzi Scheme

Court enters emergency order freezing defendants’ and relief defendants’ assets and protecting books and records.

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it charged Claudio Aliaga, of Davie, Fla., and his company, CMA Capital Management, LLC, of Miami Lakes, Fla., with operating a Ponzi scheme involving the fraudulent solicitation of at least $4.5 million from at least 125 individuals to invest in foreign currency (forex) managed accounts and/or a pooled investment.

The complaint, filed on April 6, 2010, names as relief defendants Betty Aliaga, defendant Claudio Aliaga’s wife, and CMA Global Investement (sic) Fund LLC because they received funds as a result of defendants’ fraudulent conduct and have no legitimate entitlement to those funds.

On April 9, 2010, the Honorable Marcia G. Cooke of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered a restraining order freezing the defendants’ and relief defendants’ assets, prohibiting the destruction of books and records and requiring an accounting of assets. The court has scheduled a hearing for May 5, 2010, on the CFTC’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

Specifically, the CFTC’s complaint charges that, since at least March 2007, the defendants fraudulently solicited and received at least $4.5 million from retail forex customers. During solicitations of prospective customers, Aliaga made fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions of material fact, including 1) stating that he was a successful forex trader, 2) guaranteeing a two to three percent monthly return on funds invested and 3) guaranteeing that there would be no risk to principal invested, according to the complaint. Aliaga is also charged with failing to disclose that not all customer funds were used to trade forex.

According to the complaint, only approximately $1.9 million of the approximately $4.5 million solicited from customers was transferred into forex trading accounts. Aliaga’s trading resulted in overall losses of approximately $673,000. The complaint also charges that Aliaga misappropriated customer funds to benefit himself, his wife and another related business entity. To conceal the fraud, Aliaga issued false account statements to customers reflecting the promised returns based on his purportedly successful foreign currency trading, according to the complaint. Since January 2009, as alleged, defendants failed to make promised monthly payments to customers and to honor customers’ redemption requests of customers.

In the continuing litigation, the CFTC seeks restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, trading and registration bans and a permanent injunction prohibiting further violations of the federal commodities laws.

The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Eugene Smith, Patricia Gomersall, Christine Ryall, Paul G. Hayeck and Joan Manley.

Media Contacts
Scott Schneider

Dennis Holden

Last Updated: April 12, 2010