The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that a federal district court has unsealed a civil Complaint that the CFTC filed with the Northern District of Illinois on February 2, 2016, against two foreign web-based binary options firms, Vault Options, Ltd. (Vault) and Global Trader 365 (GT 365), both Israeli web-based companies.
According to the CFTC’s Complaint, since at least October 2012 and continuing to the present, Vault and GT 365 have operated websites through which U.S. customers can buy and sell binary options on various commodities, foreign currency pairs, and stock indexes. The CFTC’s Complaint alleges that the two firms unlawfully solicited and accepted more than $1 million from at least 50 U.S. customers to trade off-exchange binary options contracts, defrauded those customers, and operated as unregistered Futures Commission Merchants (FCMs).
The Complaint states that the binary options are two-way directional options that allow customers to make predictive trades as to whether the price of a certain commodity will rise or fall. According to the Complaint, to be lawfully offered in the United States, binary options must be traded on a registered board of trade. However, the Complaint alleges that Vault and GT 365 did not execute transactions on a registered board of trade and neither Vault nor GT 365 has ever been registered with the CFTC in any capacity. As a result, the Complaint charges Vault and GT 365 with operating as FCMs, without being registered.
In addition to alleging that Vault and GT 365 solicited more than $1 million from at least 50 U.S. customers, the Complaint alleges that Vault and GT 365 defrauded their customers by, among other things, misrepresenting and omitting the likelihood of profit and loss that customer make trading binary options, falsely claiming that customer funds were insured against losses, fraudulently inducing customers to send them more money before initial funds could be returned, and misappropriating customer funds. According to the Complaint, while Vault and GT 365’s websites touted large profits, many customers lost nearly all of their funds sometimes within days or a few weeks.
Both of the company websites showed no mention of regulation and a quick google search can find unscrupulous things regarding these websites. Remember to always trade with brokers properly regulated within your jurisdiction.
For the full announcement from the CFTC click here.