September 30, 2016
CFTC Charges New Jersey Residents Alcibiades Cifuentes and Jennifer Wee Cifuentes, and Cifuentes Fund Management, LLC, with Fraud and Misappropriation
In a related criminal action, Alcibiades Cifuentes and Jennifer Wee Cifuentes have been charged with mail and commodities fraud
Washington, DC –The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced the filing of a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, charging Defendants Alcibiades Cifuentes (Cifuentes), Jennifer Wee Cifuentes (Wee), both of West New York, New Jersey, and Cifuentes Fund Management, LLC, with off-exchange, leveraged or margined retail foreign currency (forex) fraud, commodity pool fraud, and failing to register with the CFTC.
According to the CFTC’s Complaint, from at least April 2013 through March 2015, Cifuentes and Wee fraudulently solicited approximately $590,000 from members of the public to participate in a supposed commodity pool that traded leveraged or margined retail off-exchange forex contracts. The Complaint states that Cifuentes and Wee knowingly made material misrepresentations and omissions concerning their forex trading strategies and profits, including falsely representing that fictitious, profitable forex trades selected from a demonstration account reflected Defendants’ actual trades.
Misappropriation of Pool Participants’ Funds
As the Complaint alleges, Cifuentes and Wee misappropriated all or most of pool participants’ funds and used them to purchase luxury vehicles, jewelry, and clothing for themselves, among other items. The Complaint states that Cifuentes and Wee also diverted a portion of pool participants’ deposits to other victims as “dividends” in the manner of a Ponzi scheme.
The Complaint further alleges that, in order to conceal their fraudulent scheme, Defendants issued falsified account statements to pool participants that reflected account balances and dividend payments that did not exist.
In its continuing litigation against the Defendants, the CFTC seeks full restitution to defrauded pool participants, disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, permanent registration and trading bans, and a permanent injunction against future violations of federal commodities laws, as charged.
Related Criminal Action
Cifuentes and Wee have been charged with mail and commodities fraud in a related criminal action brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. The mail fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, while the commodities fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine. United States v. Alcibiades Cifuentes and Jennifer Wee Cifuentes, No. 16-6559 (D.N.J. April 18, 2016).
The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
The CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this action are Daniel J. Grimm, Patricia A. Gomersall, John Einstman, and Paul G. Hayeck.
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CFTC’s Forex Fraud and Commodity Pool Fraud Advisories
The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Foreign Currency Trading (Forex) Fraud Advisory, which states that the CFTC has witnessed a sharp rise in Forex trading scams in recent years and helps customers identify this potential fraud.
The CFTC has also issued a 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: September 30, 2016