January 31, 2014

CFTC Obtains Court Order against Arizona Resident Thomas L. Hampton for Issuing False Account Statements and Operating as an Unregistered Commodity Pool Operator

Hampton ordered to pay a $1.5 million penalty and permanently barred from any commodity-related activities

In a related criminal matter, Hampton sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay over $4.8 million in restitution

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge H. Russel Holland of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona entered an Order of final judgment by default and permanent injunction against Defendant Thomas L. Hampton of Scottsdale, Arizona. The Order requires Hampton to pay a $1.5 million civil monetary penalty, imposes permanent trading and registration bans on him, and prohibits him from violating the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), as charged. Hampton has never been registered with the CFTC.

The Order, entered on January 23, 2014, stems from a CFTC Complaint filed on June 11, 2013, charging Hampton with acting as an unregistered Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) and issuing false account statements in violation of the CEA (see CFTC Press Release 6609-13, June 12, 2013).

The Order finds that, from approximately September 2010 through at least September 2011, Hampton, while acting as an unregistered CPO, operated Hampton Capital Markets, LLC, an Arizona limited liability company, as a commodity pool. The Order finds that Hampton solicited approximately $5.2 million from at least 72 pool participants to invest in the pool for the purpose of trading commodity futures contracts, including E-mini S&P 500 futures contracts and E-mini Dow futures contracts, as well as securities-based index products. The Order also finds that Hampton defrauded pool participants by issuing false account statements that represented that the pool was generating significant trading profits, when, in fact, Hampton’s actual trading in the HCM Pool accounts resulted in net losses virtually every month.

In a related criminal action, on April 19, 2013, Hampton pleaded guilty to one count of commodities fraud. In October 2013, Hampton was sentenced to 30 months in prison and was further ordered to pay over $4.8 million in restitution (United States v. Thomas Hampton, Case No. 13-cr-00301-RWS (United States District Court for the Southern District of New York)).

The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the Arizona Corporation Commission, Securities Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

CFTC Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this case are Eugene Smith, Tracey Wingate, Kyong J. Koh, Peter M. Haas, Paul G. Hayeck, and Joan Manley.

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CFTC’s Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory

The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Commodity Pool Fraud Advisory, which warns customers about a type of fraud that involves individuals and firms, often unregistered, offering investments in commodity pools. 

Customers can report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the CFTC Division of Enforcement via a Toll-Free Hotline 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382) or file a tip or complaint online. 

Last Updated: January 31, 2014