May 31, 2012
Federal Court in Georgia Orders over $10 Million in Sanctions against Defendant Eldon A. Gresham in Forex Ponzi Scheme
Relief defendants Werner H. Beiersdoerfer and Interveston Wines, LLC ordered to pay an additional $5 million in relief
Washington, DC - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained federal court summary judgment orders resolving its claims against defendant Eldon A. Gresham (aka Eldon A. Gresham, Jr.) doing business as The Gresham Company (Gresham) of Peachtree City, Ga., and relief defendants Werner H. Beiersdoerfer (Beiersdoefer) and his company, Interveston Wines, LLC (Interveston), both of Calera, Ala.
The claims arose from a CFTC complaint filed July 2, 2009, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia that charged Gresham with operating a multi-million dollar off-exchange foreign currency (forex) Ponzi scheme (see CFTC Press Release 5674-09, July 9, 2009). Beiersdoerfer and Interveston were named in the lawsuit as relief defendants because they allegedly received funds as a result of Gresham’s conduct to which they had no legitimate entitlement.
The summary judgment order entered against Gresham on September 9, 2011, found that, from 2004 to 2009, Gresham fraudulently solicited $15,900,245.97 from over 100 customers for the purported purpose of trading forex. According to the order, Gresham lured customers and prospective customers with promises of extraordinary monthly returns ranging from five to 10 percent and perpetuated his scheme by falsely reporting substantial gains to customers. The court further found that Gresham engaged in only limited, unsuccessful forex trading and that Gresham misappropriated the vast majority of customer funds to pay “returns” to other customers and for personal use.
The court’s order imposes a civil monetary penalty of $8,131,362.90 against Gresham. In addition, the order permanently bars Gresham from engaging in any commodity-related activity, including trading, and from registering with the CFTC in any capacity. On May 9, 2012, the court amended the earlier order to require Gresham to pay $2,710,454.30 in disgorgement to his defrauded customers.
On May 7, 2012, the court entered an order of summary judgment against relief defendants Beiersdoerfer and Interveston upon finding that neither had a legitimate ownership interest in the “returns” that Gresham paid to them from the investments of others. The court’s order requires Beiersdoerfer and Interveston to pay a combined total of $5,208,151.45 in disgorgement to Gresham customers.
The CFTC thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia and the Fort Worth Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their assistance.
Gresham is currently awaiting trial on mail fraud charges in a related criminal action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Rachel Hayes, Margaret Aisenbrey, Stephen Turley, Charles Marvine, Rick Glaser, and Richard Wagner.
Last Updated: May 31, 2012