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This is a photo of the National Register of Historic Places listing with reference number 7000063

Sunday, December 27, 2015

JPMORGAN CHASE ORDERED TO PAY $100 MILLION FOR DISCLOSURE FAILURES

FROM:  U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES 
CFTC Orders JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. to Pay $100 Million for Failure to Disclose Conflicts of Interest

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order filing and settling charges against JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (JPMCB). The Order finds that JPMCB failed to disclose certain conflicts of interest to clients of its U.S.-based wealth management business, J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Specifically, JPMCB failed to fully disclose its preference for investing its client funds in certain commodity pools or exempt pools, namely hedge funds and mutual funds managed and operated by an affiliate and subsidiary of JP Morgan Chase & Co. (Proprietary Funds). JPMCB also failed to disclose its preference for investing its clients’ funds in third-party-managed hedge funds, each a commodity pool or exempt pool, that shared management and/or performance fees with a JPMCB affiliate. JPMorgan has admitted to facts set forth in the Order and acknowledged that its conduct violated the Commodity Exchange Act and/or related Regulations.

The CFTC Order requires JPMCB to pay a $40 million civil monetary penalty, to pay disgorgement in the amount of $60 million, and to cease and desist from further violations as charged.

Aitan Goelman, the CFTC’s Director of Enforcement, commented: “Investors are entitled to know if a bank managing their money favors placing investments in its own proprietary funds or other vehicles that generate fees for the bank. As demonstrated by the enforcement actions made public today, we and our regulatory partners will aggressively pursue financial institutions that fail to provide adequate disclosures to clients.”

As set forth in the Order, JPMCB serves as the investment manager for certain of its clients’ investment management accounts (IM Accounts) and certain private funds, known as the Global Access Portfolios (GAP), which are also offered to JPMCB clients. Since at least 2008, JPMCB has preferred to invest IM Accounts and GAP private fund assets in Proprietary Funds and has expected that a significant percentage of relevant portfolio assets will be invested in Proprietary Funds. Although JPMCB had historically made some disclosures regarding this preference, JPMCB did not disclose its preference for Proprietary Funds from January 2011 through January 2014, and never disclosed its preference for investment in proprietary hedge funds prior to January 2014.

Additionally, prior to August 2015, JPMCB failed to disclose its preference to invest IM accounts and GAP private funds in third-party hedge funds (each a commodity pool or exempt pool) for which JPMCB acts as the placement agent and earns fees for placement, shareholder servicing and other ongoing services.

These placement agent fees are typically referred to as “retrocessions.” Since at least 2005, JPMCB sought “retrocessions” from third-party hedge fund managers that were under consideration for IM account and GAP private funds investments. During introductory meetings, third-party hedge fund managers were typically asked about their willingness to pay retrocessions. If a manager declined to pay retrocessions, JPMCB typically sought an alternative manager with a similar investment strategy who was willing to pay JPMCB retrocessions. JPMCB did not disclose its preference for retrocession-paying third-party hedge fund managers until August 2015, when it added additional language to certain client documentation.

The CFTC Order is being announced simultaneously with the issuance of an order by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission settling charges for related conduct. The CFTC thanks and appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Neel Chopra, Katie Rasor, Chad Silverman (former staff), K. Brent Tomer, Lenel Hickson and Manal Sultan.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

FORMER OFFSHORE BROKERAGE HEAD PLEADS GUILTY TO CHARGES STEMMING FROM INTERNATIONAL PUMP AND DUMP SCHEME

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Former Head of Offshore Brokerage Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit International Stock Fraud and Money Laundering Scams

A California man pleaded guilty today to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering in connection with an international “pump and dump” scheme involving stocks traded on the over-the-counter (OTC) market.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

Harold Bailey Gallison II, 58, of Valley Center, California, was charged in an indictment unsealed on July 14, 2015, along with eight other individuals for their roles in complex, international stock manipulation and money laundering schemes.

In entering his guilty plea, Gallison admitted that he conspired to artificially “pump” or inflate the trading volume and price of the shares of Warrior Girl Corp., quoted on the OTC market under the ticker symbol WRGL, and Everock Inc., quoted on the OTC market under the ticker symbol EVRN, by touting business activities and deceptive revenue forecasts and by engaging in coordinated trading activity to create the appearance of increasing market demand.  Gallison admitted that he and others then “dumped” or sold the shares at the inflated prices and laundered proceeds through bank accounts in the United States and overseas.  Gallison further admitted that he facilitated the schemes through an offshore brokerage and money laundering platform that went by various names, including Sandias Azucaradas, Moneyline Brokers and Trinity Asset Services (collectively Moneyline).  Through Moneyline, Gallison created nominee accounts in the names of shell companies to conceal both the true source and ownership of the securities and the flow of funds.  In addition, Gallison pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to launder the proceeds of a number of securities fraud schemes, including Warrior Girl and Everock, totaling more than $25 million.

Several of Gallison’s co-defendants are scheduled to proceed to trial on Jan. 25, 2016, and are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.  Gallison is scheduled to be sentenced on March 18, 2016.

The FBI’s Washington Field Office is investigating the case.  Senior Trial Attorney N. Nathan Dimock and Trial Attorney Michael O’Neill of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kosta Stojilkovic of the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys James P. Gillis and G. Zachary Terwilliger of the Eastern District of Virginia assisted in the prosecution.  The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided significant assistance.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

SEC SAYS FALSE TWEETS SENT TWO STOCKS DROPPING

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES  AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 
PRESS RELEASE
SEC Charges: False Tweets Sent Two Stocks Reeling in Market Manipulation
Criminal Charges Also Filed
2015-254

Washington D.C., Nov. 5, 2015 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed securities fraud charges against a Scottish trader whose false tweets caused sharp drops in the stock prices of two companies and triggered a trading halt in one of them.

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in the Northern District of California, James Alan Craig of Dunragit, Scotland, tweeted multiple false statements about the two companies on Twitter accounts that he deceptively created to look like the real Twitter accounts of well-known securities research firms.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California today filed criminal charges against Craig.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that Craig’s first false tweets caused one company’s share price to fall 28 percent before Nasdaq temporarily halted trading.  The next day, Craig’s false tweets about a different company caused a 16 percent decline in that company’s share price.  On each occasion, Craig bought and sold shares of the target companies in a largely unsuccessful effort to profit from the sharp price swings.

The SEC’s investigation also determined that Craig later used aliases to tweet that it would be difficult for the SEC to determine who sent the false tweets because real names weren’t used.

“As alleged in our complaint, Craig’s fraudulent tweets disrupted the markets for two public companies and caused significant financial losses for their investors,” said Jina L. Choi, Director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office.  “Craig also said in later tweets that the SEC would have a hard time catching the perpetrator.  As today’s enforcement action demonstrates, those tweets turned out to be false as well.”

According to the SEC’s complaint:

On Jan. 29, 2013, Craig used a Twitter account he created to send a series of tweets that falsely said Audience Inc. was under investigation.  Craig purposely made the account look like it belonged to the securities research firm Muddy Waters by using the actual firm’s logo and a similar Twitter handle.  Audience’s share price plunged and trading was halted before the fraud was revealed and the company’s stock price recovered.

On Jan. 30, 2013, Craig used another Twitter account he created to send tweets that falsely said Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. was under investigation.  In this case Craig deliberately made the Twitter account seem like it belonged to the securities research firm Citron Research, again using the real firm’s logo and a similar Twitter handle.  Sarepta’s share price dropped 16 percent before recovering when the fraud was exposed.

The SEC’s complaint charges that Craig committed securities fraud in violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  The complaint seeks a permanent injunction against future violations, disgorgement, and a monetary penalty from Craig.

The SEC has issued an Investor Alert titled Social Media and Investing – Stock Rumors prepared by the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy.  The alert aims to warn investors about fraudsters who may attempt to manipulate share prices by using social media to spread false or misleading information about stocks, and provides tips for checking for red flags of investment fraud.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by staff in the Market Abuse Unit including Elena Ro, John Rymas, and Steven D. Buchholz.  The case was supervised by Joseph G. Sansone, Co-Chief of the Market Abuse Unit.  The SEC’s litigation will be led by Ms. Ro and John S. Yun of the San Francisco Regional Office.  The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

COURT ORDERS $31 MILLION RESTITUTION AND PENALTY PAYMENT AGAINST MAN, COMPANY FOR FRAUD

FROM:  U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION 
October 20, 2015

Federal Court in Ohio Orders over $31 Million in Restitution and Civil Monetary Penalties against John R. Bullar and His Company, Executive Management Advisors L.L.C., for Commodity Pool Operator and Commodity Trading Advisor Fraud and Ponzi Scheme

In a Related Criminal Action, John R. Bullar was sentenced to 8 Years 4 Months in Prison and Ordered to Pay over $6 Million in Criminal Restitution

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Michael R. Barrett of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio entered an Order for Final Judgment by Default against Defendant John R. Bullar, a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a Consent Order against his company, Defendant Executive Management Advisors L.L.C. (EMA), imposing restitution on Bullar and EMA of over $6.2 million. In addition, the Orders require Bullar and EMA to pay civil monetary penalties totaling more than $24.8 million for their fraud, misappropriation, embezzlement, and operation of a Ponzi scheme, while illegally acting as Commodity Trading Advisors (CTAs) and Commodity Pool Operators (CPOs) without registering as such with the CFTC.  The Orders also impose permanent trading and registration bans on the Defendants and prohibit them from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, as charged.

The Orders arise out of a CFTC Complaint filed on September 23, 2014, which charged Bullar and EMA with embezzlement, fraudulent solicitation, misappropriation of customer funds, fraud by a CPO and CTA, commodity futures and options fraud, and failure to register as a CPO and CTA (see Complaint and Press Release 7006-14, September 23, 2014).

Embezzlement and Misappropriation

The Orders find that Bullar, from at least January 2008, and EMA, from at least March 2009 through September 2013, fraudulently solicited and accepted at least $8.3 million from at least 40 investors (EMA Pool Participants), who were told their funds would be pooled and traded in commodity futures and option contracts.  In fact, according to the Orders, most of the funds received from the EMA Pool Participants were not traded at all, and over $6.2 million of the EMA Pool Participants’ funds were embezzled or misappropriated by the Defendants and used by Bullar to pay his personal expenses, to pay money to him or to accounts he controlled, and to purchase property, vehicles, landscaping and other home improvements.  Additionally, some EMA Pool Participants’ funds were used by Defendants to pay for other EMA Pool Participants’ withdrawals of principal or fictitious profits, in the manner typical of a Ponzi scheme, the Orders find.

The Orders further find that to conceal their embezzlement and fraud the Defendants issued false account statements that showed fictitious profits and account balances and other false information.  Throughout the periods of their misconduct, Bullar and EMA failed to register with the CFTC as a CPO or CTA, as required, the Orders find.

Related Criminal Action

In a related criminal action brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, Bullar pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering and was sentenced on June 22, 2015 to 100 months (8 years and 4 months) in prison and ordered to pay criminal restitution totaling over $6 million.

The CFTC cautions victims that restitution orders may not result in the recovery of money lost because the wrongdoers may not have sufficient funds or assets.  The CFTC will continue to fight vigorously for the protection of customers and to ensure the wrongdoers are held accountable.

The CFTC thanks and acknowledges the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (Cincinnati Field Office), the Ohio Department of Commerce (Division of Securities-Enforcement), and the Office of the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.

CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Xavier Romeu-Matta, Christopher Giglio, Douglas K. Yatter, Steven Ringer, Lenel Hickson, Jr., and Manal M. Sultan.

* * * * * *

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.

Friday, October 2, 2015

CFTC ANNOUNCES DEUTSCHE BANK AG ORDERED TO PAY $2.5 MILLION PENALTY IN CASE INVOLVING SWAPS REPORTING VIOLATIONS AND SUPERVISION FAILURES

FROM:  U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION 
September 30, 2015
CFTC Orders Deutsche Bank AG to Pay a $2.5 Million Civil Monetary Penalty for Swaps Reporting Violations and Related Supervision Failures
CFTC Finds that Deutsche Bank Did Not Diligently Address and Correct Errors until after Bank Was Notified of CFTC Investigation

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order filing and simultaneously settling charges against Deutsche Bank AG, a global banking and financial services company and provisionally registered Swap Dealer, for failing to properly report its swaps transactions from in or about January 2013 until July 2015 (the Relevant Period). The CFTC Order also finds that Deutsche Bank did not diligently address and correct the reporting errors until the Bank was notified of the CFTC’s investigation, and failed to have an adequate swaps supervisory system governing its swaps reporting requirements.

This is the CFTC's first action enforcing the new Dodd-Frank requirements that provide for the real-time public reporting of swap transactions and the reporting of swap data to swap data repositories.

The Order requires Deutsche Bank to pay a $2.5 million civil monetary penalty and comply with undertakings to improve its internal controls to ensure the accuracy and integrity of its swaps reporting.

CFTC Director of Enforcement Aitan Goelman commented: “This is another in a series of cases the CFTC has brought this year highlighting the importance of complete and accurate reporting – here involving reporting of swap transactions. When reporting parties fail to meet their reporting obligations, the CFTC cannot carry out its vital mission of protecting market participants and promoting market integrity.”

As a provisionally registered Swap Dealer, Deutsche Bank is required to comply with certain disclosure, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements related to its swap transactions. Specifically, Parts 43 and 45 of the CFTC’s Regulations specify requirements for real-time public reporting, public availability of swap transaction and pricing data, and reporting of creation and continuation data. These Regulations also include requirements for a reporting counterparty to report and correct errors and omissions in its swaps reporting, including cancellations, to the registered Swap Data Repository (SDR) to which the reporting counterparty originally reported the swap.

The reporting requirements are designed to enhance transparency, promote standardization, and reduce systemic risk in swaps trading. Accurate swap data is essential to effective fulfillment of the regulatory functions of the CFTC, including meaningful surveillance and enforcement programs. Moreover, real-time public dissemination of swap transaction and pricing data supports the fairness and efficiency of markets and increases transparency, which in turn improves price discovery and decreases risk.

According to the CFTC Order, during the Relevant Period, Deutsche Bank failed to properly report cancellations of swap transactions in all asset classes, which in the aggregate included between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of reporting violations and errors and omissions in its swap reporting. Deutsche Bank was aware of problems relating to its cancellation messages since its reporting obligations began on December 31, 2012, but failed to provide timely notice to its SDR and did not diligently investigate, address and remediate the problems until it was notified of the Division of Enforcement’s investigation in June 2014. Because of Deutsche Bank’s reporting failures, misinformation was disseminated to the market through the real time public tape and to the CFTC.

The Order further finds that Deutsche Bank’s reporting failures resulted in part due to deficiencies with its swaps supervisory system. Deutsche Bank did not have an adequate system to supervise all activities related to compliance with the swaps reporting requirements until at least sometime between April and July of 2014 – well after its reporting obligations went into effect, according to the Order.

The Order recognizes Deutsche Bank’s significant cooperation with the CFTC during the investigation of this matter.

The CFTC’s Data and Reporting Branch in the Division of Market Oversight (DMO) is responsible for the supervision of swaps data collection and reporting obligations of registered entities. This matter originated from referrals by DMO, and the Data and Reporting Branch provided substantial assistance to the Division of Enforcement during the investigation.

The CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this matter are Allison Passman, Joseph Patrick, Robert Howell, Scott Williamson, and Rosemary Hollinger, with assistance from DMO staff Lawrence Grannan, Athanasia Papadopoulos, Kristin Liegel, Benjamin DeMaria, and Daniel Bucsa.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

CFTC SAYS WHISTLEBLOWER TO RECEIVE $290,000

FROM:  COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION 
September 29, 2015
CFTC to Issue Whistleblower Award of Approximately $290,000
Whistleblower Provided Valuable Information about Violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, which Resulted in an Enforcement Action

Washington, DC — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it will make an award of approximately $290,000 to a whistleblower for providing valuable information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program provides monetary awards to persons who report violations of the CEA if the information leads to an enforcement action that results in more than $1 million in monetary sanctions.

Whistleblowers are eligible for 10 percent to 30 percent of monies collected.  The CFTC can also pay awards based on monetary sanctions collected by other authorities in actions that are related to a successful CFTC enforcement action, and are based on information provided by a CFTC whistleblower.  The Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower provisions also prohibit retaliation by employers against employees who provide the CFTC with information about possible violations, or who assist the CFTC in any investigation or proceeding based on such information.

Aitan Goelman, the Director of the Division of Enforcement, stated, “Receiving high quality information from whistleblowers is an essential part of the CFTC’s overall enforcement program.  Such information allows the staff to bring cases more quickly and with fewer agency resources, and we will continue to provide financial incentives for people with specific and credible information about violations of the CEA to come forward.”

According to Christopher Ehrman, the Director of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Office, “The Whistleblower Office continues to receive high quality information from whistleblowers on a regular basis. The number of tips, complaints and referrals that we receive continues to grow year over year. We are committed to whistleblowers, and we value the information that they provide.”
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