February 28, 2014
Federal Court Orders Arizona Resident Ray Thomas Brown to Pay over $1.2 Million for Solicitation Fraud and Misappropriation in Operating Two Commodity Scams
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Frederick J. Martone of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona granted the CFTC’s motion for summary judgment and entered an Order of permanent injunction against Defendant Ray Thomas Brown, of Phoenix, Arizona. The Order imposes permanent trading and registration bans against Brown and requires him to pay restitution and disgorgement totaling $1,131,941.98 and a civil monetary penalty of $140,000.
The Order stems from a CFTC Complaint filed on November 26, 2012 (see CFTC Press Release 6448-12, December 6, 2012), charging Brown with fraud, misappropriation, and registration violations in operating two scams, one involving fraud while acting as a Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) and the other involving fraud while acting as a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA). Brown duped customers into sending at least $1.2 million to bank and trading accounts under his control, according to the Complaint. The CFTC Complaint also charged Brown with illegally operating as an unregistered CPO and CTA.
The Order finds that Brown fraudulently solicited approximately $1,163,519 from more than 200 individuals. Of that amount, Brown deposited only approximately $86,000 into commodity pool trading accounts, which was promptly lost in trading. The Order also finds that Brown used the bulk of the funds he solicited on personal expenses and to further his fraudulent scheme. In making his solicitations, Brown lied about his background, fabricated his past and present investment performance, disseminated false account statements, and failed to disclose that he was not registered with the CFTC in any capacity, according to the Order.
A Related Criminal Action
In a related criminal action, Brown pleaded guilty on May 7, 2013, to wire fraud. Brown is currently awaiting sentencing (United States v. Ray Thomas Brown, Case No. 8:13-cr-00035-UA (United States District Court for the Central District of California)).
The CFTC thanks the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Black Mountain Precinct of the Phoenix Police Department, and the Arizona Corporation Commission for their assistance and cooperation on this matter.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Dmitriy Vilenskiy, Jonathan Robell, Richard Foelber, Paul 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: February 28, 2014