CFTC issues charges in a $145 million Ponzi scheme

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has announced bringing charges against five individuals and three companies for their involvement in a $145 million forex trading Ponzi schemes, defrauding more than a thousand investors.

According to the official announcement, the lawsuit names Marcus Todd Brisco his companies, Yas Castellum LLC and Yas Castellum Financial LLC, Tin Quoc Tran, Francisco Story, Fredirick “Ted” Safranko, Michael Shannon Sims and SAEG Capital General Management LP.


CFTC’s statement revealed that Tran operated a fraudulent scheme from around April 2020. Through this scheme, he obtained $144 million from 913 pool participants who thought their funds were used for trading either forex or margined or leveraged gold-US dollar pairs.

The statement said:

However, Tran did not send any pool participant funds to a trading firm; rather, he misappropriated some of the pool participant funds by using them to pay invoices, a loan, individuals not involved with the commodity pool, and to subsidize his unrelated businesses.


Additionally, between October 2020 and May 2022, at least 43 p[ool participants transferred around $470,780 to Yas Castellum LLC to participate in its supposed commodity pool after misrepresented historical trading records or how their funds were going to handled and traded. Furthermore, Brisco and Yas Castellum LLC, assisted by Sims, transferred the funds to entities Tran controlled.

In June 2022, Brisco closed Yas Castellum LLC to establish Yas Castellum Financial LLC. He was engaged in the same misrepresentations and omissions as the previous company. Under the new entity, he obtained $1.5 million from 57 pool participants and misappropriated the funds agaub by transferring most of them to a Tran-controlled entity and paid himself for trading profits that did not exist.

Story, Safranko, and SAEG’s role was knowingly submitted falsified bank statements to the National Futures Association (NFA) to conceal Tran’s scheme from regulators.

Restraining order and penalty

On 6 February the court granted a statutory restraining order against the defendants and froze their assets, giving the CFTC access to their books and records.

The US watchdog now seeks to recover the investors’ funds civil monetary penalties and permanent trading bans and restrictions.

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