owners to pay $4.9 million in trading system fraud

SchoolofTrade fraud

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained a Consent Order against Defendants Joseph Dufresne (a/k/a/ Joseph James) and Megan Renkow (a/k/a Megan James), both of Palos Verdes Estates, California, and their companies, United Business Servicing, LLC and United Business Servicing, Inc., doing business as (SoT), who were charged with fraud and other violations in connection with the offer and sale of futures trading strategies and systems.

Joseph James SchoolofTrade
Joseph “James” Dufresne,

The Consent Order, entered by Judge John A. Kronstadt, U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California, on November 22, 2017, requires Dufresne, Renkow, and United Business jointly and severally, to pay restitution to defrauded investors totaling $3,941,157 and a $1 million civil monetary penalty.

In addition to the monetary sanctions, Defendants are prohibited from, among other things, trading in any market regulated by the CFTC and from applying for registration or claiming exemption from registration with the CFTC in any capacity.

The Consent Order arises from a CFTC enforcement action filed against and the Defendants on September 30, 2016.

In the Order, the Court finds that the Defendants engaged in a systematic pattern of materially false statements and omissions in connection with the marketing of SoT’s trading strategies and systems.

Specifically, the Court finds that Defendants: 1) touted the profitability of SoT’s trading strategies and systems and claimed hundreds of thousands of trading profits earned every year when, in fact, none of Defendants’ accounts has ever been profitable; 2) falsely represented to customers and prospective customers that Dufresne was a successful professional trader with years of experience and numerous awards when, in fact, Dufresne has little experience, has never been professionally recognized, and has never been a profitable trader; and 3) purported to make profitable trades in live accounts in real time in SoT’s “Live Trade Room” when, in fact, none of the trades called or profits claimed to have been made in the “Live Trade Room” can be found in any of Defendants’ accounts. Additionally, the Court found that Defendants failed to prominently display in their various solicitation materials certain disclosure statements required under CFTC Regulations concerning simulated or hypothetical trading results and client testimonials.

The CFTC cautions that Orders requiring repayment of funds to victims may not result in the recovery of any money lost because the wrongdoers many 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.

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