Securities Industry Commentator by Bill Singer Esq

August 1, 2018

Man Sentenced for Falsely Pretending to be a General in The U.S. Army (DOJ Press Release)
Christian Gerald Degroux pled guilty to to pretending to be a United States Army Lieutenant General in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 912., and was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to six months imprisonment followed by one year of supervised release. As much as I would like to summarize the allegations in the press release, I can't do the facts any more justice beyond merely quoting this extract -- and wondering when the space aliens began taking over our planet:

On November 6, 2017, DESGROUX, while dressed in a military battle dress uniform (BDUs) with U.S. Army rank and insignia, disembarked a private helicopter that landed at the headquarters of Statistical Analysis Systems (SAS) located in Cary, North Carolina.  SAS security officers approached DESGROUX who claimed that he was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army and was authorized by the President of the United States to land the helicopter there in order to pick up a female employee of SAS for a classified debriefing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  After the female and the defendant entered the helicopter, they flew around the area, refueled at a local airport, and returned to SAS.  

When questioned by law enforcement, the female stated she was unaware that DESGROUX would be picking her up via helicopter.  She believed that although they were not in a romantic relationship, DESGROUX was trying to impress her by flying her around.  Her understanding was she would be meeting with the defendant to assist with a design project, but she had no knowledge of DESGROUX's claims of a debriefing or joint special assignment involving the U.S. President.  Investigation revealed DESGROUX had never been in the U.S. military.

Fugitive Lawyer Brought to South Florida to Face Federal Fraud Charges (DOJ Press Release)
Federal prosecutors alleged in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida that Michael R. Casey and co-defendants Patricia S. Saa, Louis N. Gallo, III, and James C. Howard, III had defrauded individuals who invested in Commodities Online LLC (COL). as part of a scheme that obtained over $20 million from over 700 investors. Allegedly, the conspirators used COL to sell COL ownership units, subscriptions to the COL website, and investments in purported transactions to buy and sell commodities. Howard and Saa allegedly diverted a large part of those funds for other purposes.  Shortly after that, Casey became President of COL, learned of the diversion of funds, but did not disclose it to investors. Among material facts allegedly not disclosed by the conspirators to investors was that both Howard and Gallo had previously been convicted of federal felonies, and that Gallo was still serving a term of supervised release.​ Casey Howard, Saa, and Gallo were indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit mail and several counts of mail and wire fraud. Additionally, Howard, Saa, Gallo, and another defendant, Rita Balbirer, were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and various counts of money laundering. In April of 2014, Casey failed to appear at a status hearing while pending trial and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Howard pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and was sentenced to 189 months in prison. Gallo pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and was sentenced to 168 months in prison. Balbirer pled guilty to two counts of money laundering, and was sentenced to 17 months in prison. Other co-conspirators in the COL fraud scheme were charged separately with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and three pled guilty for their involvement in the scheme and were sentenced to prison terms of 36, 38, and 40 months.

Memory Sinks Customer In CD And CMO FINRA Arbitration ( Blog)
Memories. They are the stuff of popular songs. They are the bases for many lawsuits. Good, decent folks have a tendency to misremember stuff -- and some will swear to their dying day, even in the face of proof to the contrary, that their memory of events is accurate. In some cases, you put a document in front of a witness or you show them a video and, Eureka!, it jogs their memory and an epiphany comes upon them. They unmisremember and reremember and truth triumphs. On the other hand, how often has Nietzsche's observation been proven correct? "Memory says, 'I did that.' Pride replies, 'I could not have done that.' Eventually, memory yields."

SEC Charges Arizona Man with Making False and Misleading Statements and Misappropriating Investor Funds (SEC Litigation Release No. 24220)
In a Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, the SEC charged David A. Harbour with violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5(b) thereunder, as well as Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Harbour has agreed to settle the charges and pay a $1,535,000 disgorgement  plus $97,072 prejudgment interest, and a $1,535,000 penalty. Also, Harbour also agreed to be enjoined from future securities laws violations. The SEC alleged that Harbour raised money from four friends and business acquaintances by representing to them that their funds would be used to finance various businesses, including an American Indian business entity engaged in high-interest installment lending to consumers. The SEC alleges that Harbour promised investors annual returns ranging from 12% to 20%.. The Complaint alleges that Harbour diverted substantial portions of investors' funds for personal purposes that included paying off hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal credit card expenses, such as expenses for private jets, cruises, stays at resorts, and a payment to a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. Allegedly, Harbour used investor funds to make payments on personal loans and prior-business debts..READ FULL TEXT SEC Complaint

CFTC Sues Forex Dealer for Registration and Disclosure Violations / JAFX, Ltd. Solicits U.S. Retail Customers to Trade Forex without Registering as a Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer (CFTC Press Release 7765-18)
CFTC filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah against JAFX, Ltd. (JAFX), a/k/a JAFX, EOOD, of Sofia, Bulgaria and Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Complaint alleges that JAFX has been the counterparty to leveraged, retail forex transactions for customers located in the United States, who are not Eligible Contract Participants (ECPs). Allegedly,  JAFX solicits orders from non-ECP U.S. customers for leveraged, retail forex trading accounts through JAFX's website, as well as YouTube videos, where JAFX is, or offers to be, the counterparty.  Allegedly, JAFX operates as an unregistered retail foreign exchange dealer, and fails to provide customers with the required Risk Disclosure Statement.   READ a FULL TEXT Copy of the Complaint