January 26, 2011
CFTC SUES 14 FOREIGN CURRENCY FIRMS IN NATIONWIDE SWEEP
Action represents first use of new authority under the 2008 Farm Bill and Dodd-Frank Act to regulate foreign exchange dealers.
Washington, DC - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it simultaneously filed 13 enforcement actions in Federal District Courts in Chicago, the District of Columbia, Kansas City and New York, alleging that 14 entities are illegally soliciting members of the public to engage in foreign currency (forex) transactions and that they are operating without being registered with the CFTC.
Today’s actions are the first taken by the CFTC to enforce new forex regulations that became effective in October 2010. These new regulations require entities that wish to participate in the forex market to register with the CFTC and abide by regulations intended to protect the public. These regulations require that forex dealers take steps to protect investors, including maintaining capital and records, which will reduce risk and increase transparency.
The following companies were sued by the CFTC as part of this sweep:
EuroForex Development LLC, a Delaware LLC;
FIG Solutions Limited, Inc., a Delaware corporation;
ForInvest, a Delaware corporation;
FXOpen Investments Inc., a foreign entity with various business operations located throughout the United States;
FXPRICE, a Delaware LLC;
GIGFX, L.L.C., a Delaware company;
InovaTrade, Inc., a company with purported offices in Florida;
InstaTrade Corporation d/b/a InstaForex, a British Virgin Islands company;
InvesttechFX Technologies, Inc., a Canadian corporation located in Toronto;
J&K Futures, Inc., a company with purported offices in California and New York;
Kingdom Forex Trading and Futures, Ltd., a Nevada company;
Prime Forex, LLC, a Delaware LLC;
Wall Street Brokers, LLC, a Delaware LLC; and
ZtradeFX LLC, a Connecticut LLC.
In the forex market, entities known as Retail Foreign Exchange Dealers (RFED) or Futures Commission Merchants (FCM) may buy foreign currency contracts from or sell foreign currency contracts to individual investors. Under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC Regulations, an entity acting as an RFED or FCM must register with the Commission and abide by rules and regulations designed for investor protection, including those relating to minimum capital requirements, recordkeeping and compliance. Further, with a few exceptions, such an entity also must be registered with the Commission if it solicits or accepts orders from US investors in connection with forex transactions conducted at an RFED or FCM.
In all but two of the complaints, the CFTC alleges that a defendant acted as an RFED; that is, it offered to take or took the opposite side of a customer’s forex transaction without being registered. In the remaining two complaints, ZtradeFX LLC and FXPRICE, the CFTC alleges that the defendant solicited customers to place forex trades at an RFED without being registered as an Introducing Broker. In every complaint, the CFTC alleges that the defendant solicited or accepted orders from US investors to enter into forex transactions in violation of the Act. The CFTC has moved for preliminary injunctions preventing these defendants from operating unless and until they comply with the CEA and Commission Regulations. The CFTC’s complaints also seek civil monetary penalties, trading and registration bans, disgorgement and rescission.
The CFTC strongly urges the public to check whether a company is registered before investing funds. If a company is not registered, an investor should be wary of providing funds to that company.
A company’s registration status can be found at: www.nfa.futures.org/basicnet
The CFTC also strongly urges members of the public to visit the below websites before investing money in the forex market:
CFTC Consumer Advisory: Forex Fraud: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Fraud Advisory from the CFTC: Foreign Currency Trading (Forex) Fraud
Foreign Exchange Currency Fraud: CFTC/NASAA Investor Alert
The CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for these cases are: Margaret Aisenbrey, Kathleen Banar, Barry Blankfield, Kim Bruno, Jennifer Chapin, Elizabeth Davis, James Deacon, Jennifer Diamantis, Rick Glaser, Patricia Gomersall, Amanda Harding, Jessica Harris, Paul Hayeck, Lenel Hickson, Rosemary Hollinger, William Janulis, Joseph Konizeski, Jeffrey Le Riche, Charles Marvine, Judith McCorkle, Joy McCormack, Vincent McGonagle, Kenneth McCracken, Stephen Obie, Nathan Ploener, Eliud Ramirez, Stephanie Reinhart, Xavier Romeu-Matta, Christine Ryall, Veronica Spicer, Elizabeth Streit, Manal Sultan, Lara Turcik, Stephen Turley, Richard Wagner and Scott Williamson.
The CFTC thanks the National Futures Association for its assistance in this matter.
Last Updated: April 14, 2011