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It seemed like a great investment, in natural gas. But like many energy-based investments, there is a considerable volatility involved that’s an uncontrollable variable. In other words, you never know what may happen tomorrow, especially when trading options or using leverage.

Natural gas posted its biggest one-day percentage gain on November 14. The next day, it posted its largest one-day drop in 15 years. According to news stories, OptionSellers.com was betting that natural gas would continue to rise. When it didn’t, everything unraveled, and the company was forced to begin liquidation. Many investors borrowed through margin accounts, some with considerable amounts invested.

Margin-Account-Guidelines-300x200Tampa, FL-based OptionSellers.com was a commodities trading firm that claimed to be experienced in this type of investment. The firm’s president and head trader, James Cordier, told a recent interviewer, “Our goal is to take an aggressive vehicle and manage it conservatively.” Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what happened. Trading “naked” on margin instead of “covered,” the firm left its investors vulnerable to unlimited exposure, leading to the losses. An article explains that “OptionSellers.com and its principals negligently engaged in a risky trading strategy that was unsuitable for its clients and breached its fiduciary duties to them by putting its interests ahead of its clients.”

https://www.silverlaw.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FINRA-Permanently-Bars-Honetta-C.-Kao-After-Allegations-of-Unauthorized-Trading-and-Mishandled-Accounts-300x200.jpgThe Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) filed orders today that brought and settled cases against two commodities firms engaged in unauthorized trading and two traders attempting to manipulate commodity prices.

In the first case, Iowa-based Kooima & Kaemingk Commodities, Inc. (K&K), Lauren Kaemingk (Kaemingk), and Bradley Kooima (Kooima) were charged with:

  • Fraud

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has obtained a federal court Order imposing $44 million in sanctions against Robert J. Andres of Houston, TX; his company, Winsome Investment Trust (“Winsome”); Robert L. Holloway of San Diego, CA; and his company, US Ventures LC (“US Ventures”); for fraud in operating a commodities futures pool.  The sanction includes a civil monetary penalty of over $32 million as well as a restitution award of $12 million to be paid to defrauded investors.  The Order also imposes upon the individuals and companies a permanent trading and registration ban.

According to the Order entered by the Honorable Bruce S. Jenkins of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Andres and Winsome (from May 2005 through November 2008) fraudulently solicited and accepted over $50 million from investors who were told that they would be investing in a commodity futures pool operated by Holloway and US Ventures.  To garner the investors’ funds, Andres and Winsome purportedly made false statements claiming that the investment program had a successful track record and that each investor would be guaranteed a return of his/her principal plus profits.  The Court found those representations to be false, as Holloway and US Ventures’ futures trading actually suffered nearly $11 million in net losses.

The Court went on to conclude that the defendants misappropriated the majority of participant funds to pay investors false “profits” in a manner akin to a Ponzi scheme and that the defendants used investor funds for other improper purposes, such as providing money to Andres’ wife, funding Holloway’s and his wife’s lavish personal expenses (houses, cars, jewelry, etc.), and investing in various unrelated and undisclosed businesses including a business Holloway’s wife ran on eBay.  The Court Order explained that Andres and Holloway attempted to conceal the fraud by directing employees to falsify participants’ account records and to falsely represent to investors that the pool funds were trading profitably with virtually no losses during the relevant period.

Silver Law Group is proud to be awarded Commodities Law Firm of the Year by Finance Monthly magazine.  According to Finance Monthly, “the Finance Monthly Global Awards reflect the very best of those professionals working in or within the finance industry today.  Each winner has demonstrated excellence and stands out as a first among equals in what is a highly competitive sector.”

Silver Law Group routinely represents institutional and retail investors in commodities litigation and arbitration claims.  Our attorneys routinely represent investors in claims before the CFTC and NFA arbitration.  Amongst other accomplishments, our attorneys obtained confirmation of an NFA arbitration award against a top commodities clearing firm, represented several victims of MF Global and currently represents multiple victims of a Forex trading scheme.

If you have questions about your legal rights, or have been the victim of investment fraud, please contact Scott Silver of the Silver Law Group for a free consultation at ssilver@silverlaw.com or Toll Free at (800) 975-4345.

In March 2014, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained a supplemental Federal Court Order against Queen Shoals Consultants, LLC (“QSC”) and others to jointly pay in excess of five million dollars in penalties for defrauding customers in a currency or Forex trading scheme.  None of the Defendants were registered with the National Futures Association or the CFTC.  The Judge initially entered a permanent injunction finding that the Defendants defrauded customers in the Forex scheme and ordered the Defendants to pay restitution, amongst other sanctions.

According to a Court Order, a website “lured customers by claiming QSC and others had a ‘vast background in financial services’ with over 20 years of experience in financial services and a staff of experts ready to assist customers.” In truth, the Defendants were not experienced Forex traders and any promises or guarantees about profits were not true.  In fact, there were no Forex accounts and the investors were the victim of a Ponzi scheme.

If you have been the victim of a Forex or commodities trading scheme and would like to discuss your legal rights, contact the Silver Law Group.  We represent investors on a contingency fee basis in FINRA arbitration, NFA arbitration and state or federal court.  Please contact Scott Silver of the Silver Law Group for a free consultation at ssilver@silverlaw.com or Toll Free at (855) 755-4799.

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