Posted On: April 20, 2012

Commodities/Futures Round Up: CFTC Cracks Down on Perpetrators of Securities Violations and Considers New Swap Market Definitions and Rules

Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) are calling on the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to crack down on excessive energy market speculation. They believe that this type of speculation on oil that is “based on world events” is “abusive” and has been creating difficulties for Americans.

In their released statement, Murphy said that such speculation ups the price of a gallon of gas by 56 cents. The two lawmakers want the futures and option markets regulator to swiftly implement rules that have already been passed to curb excessive speculation.

In other commodities/futures trading news, last month the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ordered two men and their company Total Call Group Inc. to pay over $4.8 million for allegedly producing false customer statements and making bogus solicitations related to an off-exchange foreign currency fraud. In CFTC v. Total Call Group Inc., Thomas Patrick Thurmond and Craig Poe will pay $1.62 million and $3.24 million, respectively. Per the agency, between 2006 through late 2008, the two men solicited about $808,000 from at least four clients for trading in foreign currency options.

Earlier this month, another company, registered futures commission merchant Rosenthal Collins Group LLC, consented to pay over $2.5 million over CFTC allegations that it did not adequately supervise the way the firm handled an account linked to a multibillion dollar Ponzi scam. The account, held in Money Market Alternative LP’s name, experienced “significant change” between April 2006 and April 2009 in how much money it took in. For instance, the CFTC says that even though the account at inception reported a $300,000 net worth and a $45,000 yearly income, deposits varied from $2 million to $14 million a year. RCG is also accused of failing to look into and report excessive wire activity involving the account. As part of the CFTC securities settlement, the financial firm consented to pay a $1.6 million fine and disgorge $921,260, which is how much RCT made in account fees.

Just three days before, the CFTC announced that its swaps customer clearing documentation rule packaging will expand open access to execution and clearing, enhance transparency, lower cost and risks, and generate competition. The rules will not allow arrangements involving swap dealers, designated clearing organizations, major swap participants, and futures commission merchants that would limit how many counterparties a customer can get into a trade with, impair a client’s ability to access a trade execution on terms reasonable to the best terms that already exist, limit the position size a customer can take with an individual counterparty, and not allow compliance for specified time frames for acceptance of trades into clearing. Also, the CFTC is thinking about adopting definitions for swap dealers, major security-based swap participant eligible contract participant, security-based swap dealer, and major swap participant. These entities were created under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Meantime, MF Global Inc. (MFGLQ.PK) liquidation trustee James Giddens reportedly believes that he can make claims against certain company employees. Possible claims again such persons could include allegations of customer funds segregation requirement violations and breach of fiduciary duty. Although MF Global had told regulators that it was unable to account for customer funds of up to $900 million when it filed for bankruptcy protection, investigators are now saying that this figure is closer to somewhere between $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion.

Commodities Futures Trading Commission

Trustee May Sue MF Officials, NY Times, April 12, 2011

CFTC Orders Rosenthal Collins Group, LLC, a Registered Futures Commission Merchant, to Pay More than $2.5 Million for Supervision and Record-Production Violations, CFTC, April 12, 2012

CFTC v. Total Call Group Inc.


More Blog Posts:
CFTC Says RBC Took Part in Massive Trading Scam to Avail of Tax Benefits, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 12, 2012

Texas Man Sued by CFTC Over Alleged Foreign Currency Fraud, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, February 23, 2012

CFTC and SEC May Need to Work Out Key Differences Related to Over-the-Counter Derivatives Rulemaking, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, January 31, 2012

To schedule your free case evaluation, contact our stockbroker fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD, LLP today.