CFTC Slaps Florida Trader with $1.2M Fine for Commodities Fraud

A 27-year-old Florida man who pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge was fined by the CFTC for his role in a trading scheme that caused approximately six people to incur losses of more than $1.2 million.

The order requires Matthew R. White and his company M.W. Global Futures LLC (MWGF) to pay a $200,000 civil monetary penalty and $883,974 in restitution, of which $602,003 has already been paid.

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Matthew entered a guilty plea on January 20 to one count of wire fraud in the US District Court of Seattle in connection with his million-dollar scheme to pose as a successful commodities trader. His sentencing has been scheduled for April 10, 2020.

The settlement involves charges that, from February 2014 to July 2018, White lied to victims that he would use the money to trade in futures contracts first under his own name, and later under the name of his company. Further, he was accused of misrepresenting his educational and professional background, the amount of funds that he managed and the volume of profits he made.

In furtherance of his scheme, he repeatedly sent to the investors in his pool account performance records claiming a return in excess of 16 percent annually, as well as thousands of dollars in profits.

He had no trading experience, and regularly incurred losses

In truth, very little of the money was actually traded in investment accounts, and the profits were non-existent. The defendant, who also claimed to be a member of the Chicago Board of Trade, fraudulently spent more than $280,000 on his personal expenses, including credit card, auto loan, and rent payments.

“For example, White failed to disclose that his trading had actually resulted in a net loss and that the highest monthly profit he had earned was roughly $934. Additionally, White created and delivered monthly account statements to at least two pool participants, which falsely represented that he engaged in trading every month, that his trading was profitable, and that participants were earning positive returns on their deposits,” the CFTC further explains.

As part of a plea agreement, Matthew admitted he had no trading experience, was not handling millions in funds and regularly incurred losses in investors’ accounts.

Of the $1.29 million collected from pool participants, MWGF and White initially repaid $425,000 as redemptions and purported profits during the scheme. He then repaid an additional $602,000 to two victims after he was contacted by investigators from the CFTC.

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