The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Martin Reidinger of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina entered an Order of Default Judgment against Defendants Edwin A. Vasquez of Arden, North Carolina, and his company, Vasquez Global Investments, LLC (VGI), for defrauding participants in a commodity pool commonly known as the Vasquez pool.
The Order, entered on December 30, 2014, requires Vasquez and VGI, joint and severally, to pay $331,556 in restitution; requires Vasquez and VGI, joint and severally, to pay a civil monetary penalty of $994,668, and imposes permanent trading, solicitation, and registration bans against all Defendants.
The Court’s Order stems from a CFTC Complaint filed on July 30, 2014, that charged Vasquez and VGI with misappropriation, solicitation fraud, and issuing false statements in connection with the operation of an unregistered commodity trading pool (see CFTC Press Release 6974-14). The Complaint also charged Vasquez and VGI with commingling pool participant funds and registration violations.
The Order finds that, beginning in August 2011, Vasquez, acting individually and through VGI, defrauded and deceived at least 19 participants who invested at least $583,491 in the Vasquez pool. The Order further finds that Vasquez told prospective pool participants that he was a successful trader and that the VGI pool was a “no risk” investment. In fact, the Order finds that of the $583,491 solicited and accepted from pool participants, Vasquez and VGI lost $65,374 trading commodity futures and misappropriated $331,556 by using those funds to pay for VGI’s operating costs and for Vasquez’s personal expenses, including travel, restaurants, and retail purchases. During that time, according to the Order, Vasquez did not disclose his trading losses and misappropriation and, instead, issued false statements to the pool participants regarding the profitability and value of their shares of the pool.
The CFTC appreciates the efforts of the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, Securities Division.
The CFTC cautions victims that restitution orders may not result in the recovery of money lost because the wrongdoers may 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.
The CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Elizabeth N. Pendleton, Joseph Patrick, Susan Gradman, Nancy Hooper, Scott Williamson, and Rosemary Hollinger.
For the full press release, click here.