September 28, 2010

CFTC Charges People’s Alternative, Inc. and its Principals with Commodity Pool Fraud and Misappropriation

Court issues emergency order freezing California defendants’ assets and protecting books and records.

Washington, DC — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it obtained an emergency federal court order freezing the assets of defendants People’s Alternative, Inc. of Los Angeles, Calif. and its principals, Jaime Gallardo of Pasadena, Calif., and Karl Ochoa and Maria Iracheta, both of Los Angeles. The court’s order also prohibits the destruction of books and records and grants the CFTC immediate access to such documents.

Defendants charged with fraudulently soliciting at least $1.2 million dollars from approximately 98 commodity pool participants

The order stems from a CFTC enforcement action filed on September 21, 2010, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, charging the defendants with solicitation fraud and misappropriation of customer funds in connection with the operation of a commodity pool.

Specifically, the CFTC’s complaint charges that, since at least November 2008, defendants fraudulently solicited and pooled at least $1.2 million dollars from approximately 98 participants to invest in commodity futures, foreign currency (forex), gold and securities. However, the defendants allegedly failed to disclose to participants that their funds would be used to trade commodity futures and forex and failed to disclose the significant risks associated with such trading. Defendants also misrepresented that participants would not lose their principal, while failing to disclose the full extent of their trading losses, according to the complaint.

Gallardo, Ochoa and Iracheta also charged with misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars of participant funds

The complaint also alleges that Gallardo, Ochoa and Iracheta together misappropriated at least $533,000 of participant funds for personal uses, such as for automobile expenses, mortgage payments and debit card purchases for entertainment, travel and food.

In its continuing litigation, the CFTC seeks full restitution to defrauded customers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, rescission of contracts, civil monetary penalties, trading and registration bans and permanent injunctions against further violations of federal commodities laws.

Defendants ordered to appear in federal court on October 8

U.S. District Court Judge Gary A. Feess ordered the defendants to appear in court on October 8, 2010, for a preliminary injunction hearing.

The CFTC thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California for its assistance.

The CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are William P. Janulis, Barry R. Blankfield, Ken Hampton, Scott Williamson, Rosemary Hollinger and Richard B. Wagner.

Media Contacts
Scott Schneider

Dennis Holden

Last Updated: September 28, 2010