By Commodity Futures Trading Commission ….
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced the filing of a federal civil enforcement action in Florida charging Defendants Carlos Javier Ramirez, Gold Chasers, Inc., and Royal Leisure International, Inc., all with last known addresses in Orlando, Florida, with misappropriating customer funds and engaging in fraudulent sales solicitations in connection with the purported purchase of physical gold.
According to the CFTC Complaint, since at least February 14, 2012 through at least January 31, 2016, Defendants fraudulently offered contracts to sell gold to at least 20 customers who reside in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and abroad, marketing one of their schemes through a website. Defendants allegedly fraudulently obtained at least $4.1 million from customers. Of that amount, Defendants misappropriated approximately $3.95 million of their customers’ funds, and also paid false profits to some customers, in the manner of a Ponzi scheme, according to the Complaint.
In order to entice customers, Defendants, among other things, allegedly promised to sell customers gold at a discount, which Defendants claimed was possible because Defendants purchased gold at discount prices at mines in Central and South America. However, the Defendants allegedly failed to buy gold that they could sell to their customers. The Complaint alleges that the Defendants made other fraudulent misrepresentations to lure customers, including that Defendants 1) would sell gold to customers at a price that was related to the London Bullion Market Association’s prices, 2) customers would have the opportunity to take physical possession of gold bars, and 3) customers would receive a “20% free bonus” payable in gold. All of these statements, according to the Complaint, were false.
The Complaint also alleges that the Defendants issued phony invoices and account statements to some customers in an attempt to conceal their fraud.
In its continuing litigation against the Defendants, the CFTC seeks restitution to defrauded customers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, a civil monetary penalty, permanent registration and trading bans, and a permanent injunction against future violations of federal commodities laws and regulations, as charged.
The CFTC appreciates the cooperation and assistance in this matter of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Glenn Chernigoff, Michael Loconte, Michael Solinsky, and Rick Glaser.
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CFTC’s Precious Metals Customer Fraud Advisory
The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Precious Metals Fraud Advisory, which alerts customers to precious metals fraud and lists simple ways to spot precious metals scams.
Customers can report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the CFTC Division of Enforcement via a Toll-Free Hotline 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382) or file a tip or complaint online.