Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer Esq

July 19, 2018

Two Connecticut Men Charged for Deceptive Trading Practices Executed on U.S. Commodities Markets (DOJ Press Release)
Precious metals traders Edward Bases and John Paciliowere each Indicted in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution and commodities fraud and one count of commodities fraud each; further, Pacilio was charged with five counts of spoofing.   Allegedly, the defendants and their co-conspirators placed orders that they did not intend to execute in order to create the appearance of false supply and demand and to induce other market participants to trade at prices, quantities and times that they otherwise would not have traded. READ the FULL TEXT INDICTMENT  
Kingsley Otuya pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with an online romance and investment scams. Otuya was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison  plus three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $966,617.31 restitution. As set forth in part in the DOJ Press Release 

[T]he conspiracy scammed American citizens out of over $1 million.  Otuya acted as a "catcher," one of the individuals responsible for quickly withdrawing fraudulently obtained funds from bank accounts where the victims deposited their funds.  Otuya used fake passports to open nine different bank accounts in false names in Austin and often structured his withdrawals to amounts under $10,000 so as to avoid bank reporting requirements.  Otuya would then send the money to co-conspirators before the victim attempted to recover their funds.  Otuya was paid a fee for the fraud proceeds that flowed through his accounts.  Court records indicated that multiple victims faced serious financial hardship as a result of these schemes and that one of the victims who sent money to Otuya took her own life after losing hundreds of thousands of dollars and being emotionally devastated by a romance scam. Court records indicate that Otuya faces likely deportation back to Nigeria as a result of this conviction.

Morgan Stanley Broker Fined And Suspended For NSF Wires Into His Personal Account ( Blog)
Embedded in popular culture is the dubious moral proposition that "ya do what ya gotta do." This mind-set often manifests itself when we decide that something is "wrong" but immediately follow that thought with "but." And don't even pretend that you haven't come to that threshold at various points in your life and stepped over. Some of us quickly step back. Others stand still. Others move further into the darkness to a place from which there is no return. In a recent FINRA regulatory settlement, we got a guy who sent wires from one of his bank accounts to another at a time when he didn't have covering funds. This bit of financial sleight-of-hand got him fired by his employer. Then it got him fined and suspended by Wall Street's self regulator. Blog publisher Bill Singer doesn't excuse or defend the stockbroker. That much is clear. Bill does ask some uncomfortable questions and provides a number of unsettling answers.

SEC Charges Investment Adviser and CEO With Misleading Retail Investors (SEC Press Release 2018-137)
In a Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, the SEC alleged that investment advisory firm Temenos Advisory Inc. and its CEO George L. Taylor with putting $19 million of investor money, including elderly investors' retirement savings and pension plans, into four risky, illiquid private offerings and secretly pocketing commissions. READ the FULL TEXT SEC Complaint

SEC Adopts Rules to Enhance Transparency and Oversight of Alternative Trading Systems (SEC Press Release 2018-136)
The SEC adopted amendments to Regulation ATS to enhance operational transparency and regulatory oversight of alternative trading systems (ATSs) that trade stocks listed on a national securities exchange. As noted in the SEC Press Release: 

Certain ATSs will be required to file detailed public disclosures on new Form ATS-N.  These disclosures are designed to allow market participants to assess potential conflicts of interest and risks of information leakage arising from the ATS-related activities of the ATS's broker-dealer operator and its affiliates.  The disclosures will also inform market participants about how the ATS operates, including order types and market data used on the ATS, fees, the ATS's execution and priority procedures, and any procedures to segment orders on the ATS.