Long Leaf Trading Group and six employees involved in multi-million dollar options fraud scheme

The CFTC announced charging Illinois-based Long Leaf Trading Group, Inc., its principals James A. Donelson, Timothy M. Evans, former employees Jeremey S. Ruth and Andrew D. Nelson with fraud in options on futures transactions case. The US watchdog also settled charges against Long Leaf associated persons Scott J. Gecas and James E. Leeney.

CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald said:

James McDonald, CFTC

James McDonald

The CFTC is committed to stamping out fraud in its markets, particularly with respect to conduct like that alleged here where there is an abuse of registration status to systematically mislead customers. The CFTC urges customers to exercise caution when investing in so-called ‘trading programs’ offered by brokers or advisors.

The US regulator discovered that between June 2015 and December 2019, Long Leaf made numerous misleading statements to customers about its “Time Means Money” options trading program. The statements were made at the direction of Donelson and Evans and through its employees Ruth and Nelson.


CFTC’s complaint states that all of Long Leaf’s customers lost money in “Time Means Money” trading program. Over 400 customers lost approximately $6.1 million, while the company made $4.4 million from commissions.

The Commission seeks restitution for the defrauded customers, return of the gains, monetary penalties and permanent trading ban.

CFTC settled charges against Gecas who was ordered to pay $150,000 penalty and received a four-year trading ban. Leeney was ordered to pay $350,000 and is banned for five years.

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