The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that it has charged two Michigan men with fraud for their roles in a fake accounts scheme perpetrated by a phony day-trading firm, Nonko Trading.
The SEC alleges that Jeffrey Goldman of West Bloomfield, Michigan, and Christopher Eikenberry of Birmingham, Michigan, participated in and profited from a scheme to defraud Nonko’s customers out of at least $1.4 million.
While Nonko marketed itself as a state-of-the-art platform for day-trading professionals, the SEC alleges that it secretly provided customers with training accounts that merely simulated actual trading. Nonko team members allegedly pocketed customers’ deposits and used the money for personal expenses and for Ponzi-like payments to customers who wanted to close their accounts. According to the complaint, Nonko deliberately targeted traders who were inexperienced or had a history of trading losses and lured them by promising generous leverage, low trading commissions, and low minimum deposit requirements.
“As alleged in our complaint, Goldman and Eikenberry actively concealed their involvement in the alleged fraud and took steps to evade U.S. broker-dealer registration requirements,” said Joseph G. Sansone, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit. “But, behind the scenes, they were active and knowing participants in the scheme, which caused losses to more than 260 investors.”
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey today announced criminal charges against Goldman and Eikenberry.
The SEC previously charged four other individuals and two entities in connection with the Nonko fraud. Two of those individuals, Naris Chamroonrat and Adam Plumer, have settled the SEC’s charges. Chamroonrat also pled guilty in a parallel criminal case and is awaiting sentencing. Criminal charges against two other individuals charged by the SEC, Yaniv Avnon and Ran Armon, are pending.
The SEC’s complaint charges Goldman and Eikenberry with fraud and with aiding and abetting Nonko’s fraud and broker-dealer registration violations. The SEC is seeking injunctions and the disgorgement of their allegedly ill-gotten gains, plus interest and penalties.