September 16, 2013

CFTC Orders Futures Broker Employee Susan Butterfield to Pay $50,000 Penalty in Settlement of Charges of Making False Statements to the CFTC During Her Investigative Testimony

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it entered an Order requiring Susan Butterfield of New Lenox, Illinois, to pay a $50,000 civil monetary penalty for making false statements of material fact in testimony to CFTC staff during a CFTC Division of Enforcement investigation. The Order enforces the false statements provision of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), which was added by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act).

According to the CFTC’s Order, Butterfield, an employee of a company registered with the Commission as an introducing broker (the IB), handled various clerical and administrative responsibilities concerning trading on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). Her responsibilities included accepting and recording customer orders. When done properly, this involved time-stamping paper order tickets contemporaneously with the receipt of a customer commodity futures or options order to accurately record the time of day when the IB received the order.

On January 31, 2013, Butterfield gave sworn testimony in an investigation being conducted by the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement. The CFTC Order finds that during that testimony, Butterfield knowingly made false and misleading statements regarding whether she had improperly pre-stamped order tickets, i.e., whether she stamped order tickets in blank, prior to the time when a customer order was actually received. As the Order states, this testimony was significant in that use of pre-stamped order tickets may violate Commission Regulations and CBOT rules and also may facilitate unlawful trade allocation schemes in which brokers decide who will receive trades only after they are executed, potentially allowing them to profit at their customers’ expense.

The CFTC Order finds that prior to her CFTC testimony Butterfield told her supervisor, who was a principal at the IB, that “we pre-stamp orders and it’s something that is – that we should not be doing.” However, on January 31, 2013, when the Division of Enforcement staff questioned Butterfield on the IB’s pre-stamping practice, Butterfield falsely told the staff that she “never pre-stamped any [order] tickets.” Later during the course of her testimony the same day, Butterfield admitted to various instances of pre-stamping order tickets, but only after she was confronted by documents that plainly contradicted her initial false testimony. Ultimately, having been confronted with evidence that demonstrated her falsehoods, Butterfield admitted by the end of her testimony that it was in fact her daily practice to pre-stamp order tickets from multiple futures commission merchants throughout the trading session, in numbers amounting to dozens of order tickets every day.

David Meister, the CFTC’s Enforcement Director, stated: “When a witness walks into CFTC testimony he or she should plan to tell the truth to every question or face the consequences. We will use the new Dodd-Frank false statements provision against witnesses who provide false or misleading information to make sure it is well understood that lying is not an option.”

In addition to the $50,000 civil monetary penalty, the CFTC Order requires Butterfield to cease and desist from violating the relevant provision of the CEA, to never apply for or claim exemption from registration with the CFTC or engage in any activity requiring such registration or exemption, and to never act as a principal or officer of any entity registered or required to be registered with the CFTC.

The CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this matter are Allison Passman, Theodore Z. Polley III, Joseph Patrick, Susan Gradman, Scott Williamson, Rosemary Hollinger, and Richard B. Wagner.

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Dennis Holden

Last Updated: September 16, 2013