October 29, 2013
Federal Court Orders Louis J. Giddens, Jr., Anthony W. Dutton, and Michael Gomez to Pay Combined Restitution and Penalties of over $400,000 for Foreign Exchange Currency Scheme
Court Order Stems from a CFTC Complaint that Charged Dutton with Solicitation Fraud and Dutton and Gomez with Misappropriation of Customer Funds
Washington, DC - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained a consent Order from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against Defendants Louis J. Giddens, Jr. of Fayetteville, Georgia, Anthony W. Dutton of Peachtree City, Georgia, and Michael Gomez of Valrico, Florida, requiring them to pay restitution to investors, respectively, of $29,759.49, $56,604.35, and $68,000 and to pay a civil monetary penalty of $100,000, $100,000, and $75,000, respectively. The court’s Order also imposes permanent trading and registration bans against them, and prohibits them from violating the anti-fraud provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act, as charged.
The Order, entered October 2, 2013, by U.S. District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr., stems from a CFTC anti-fraud Complaint filed against the Defendants on June 23, 2011 (see CFTC Press Release 6061-11).
The Order finds that, from at least January to October 2010, Giddens and Dutton operated Currency Management Group, LLC and Pinnacle Capital Partners, LLC, respectively, and solicited and accepted funds to trade off-exchange foreign currency (forex) from friends and co-workers. Giddens and Dutton transferred the solicited funds to another entity they owned and operated named Pinnacle Trade Group, LLC (Pinnacle Trade) to trade forex, the Order finds. Funds transferred to Pinnacle Trade were either sent to forex trading accounts or to a bank account controlled by Gomez to trade investor funds. However, the Order finds that not all of investor money was traded in forex, but rather, some funds were retained by Gomez and Dutton.
The Order also finds that Giddens and Dutton made statements on websites guaranteeing monthly returns of either five or ten percent from trading forex and that the websites did not disclose any risks associated with trading forex or that past performance does not guarantee future results. In addition to promising to pay investors fixed returns, the Order finds that Giddens and Dutton executed promissory notes that promised to repay investors their principal sum, plus monthly interest of either five or ten percent and prepared online account statements that showed the current net balance of the promissory notes. The notes did not disclose any risk associated with forex trading, the Order finds.
The CFTC appreciates the substantial assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (Civil Division), Northern District of Georgia.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Kim Bruno, James Deacon, Amanda Harding, Michael Loconte, Erica Bodin, Kathleen Banar, Rick Glaser, and Richard Wagner.
Last Updated: October 29, 2013