$1.4 million civil penalty against man charged with commodities fraud

Washington, DC - The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it obtained a $1.4 million civil monetary penalty against David A. Owen of Destin, Fla., in a consent federal court order entered by U.S. District Court Judge M. Casey Rodgers of the Northern District of Florida in a commodity fraud action.

The consent order recognizes that Owen paid approximately $1.7 million in restitution in a related criminal action and permanently bans him from engaging in certain commodity-related activities, including trading on registered entities.

The order, which arises out of the CFTC complaint filed on October 30, 2009 (see CFTC Press Release 5748-09, November 10, 2009), finds that Owen fraudulently solicited at least $2.5 million from individuals to participate in commodity pools he operated under the name, Oasis Futures. Owen lost more than $1.6 million trading commodity futures, and he concealed those losses through the issuance of false statements to pool participants, the order finds.

Specifically, the order finds that Owen held himself out as a certified public accountant, tax attorney and financial advisor while fraudulently soliciting prospective and existing pool participants. According to the order, he falsely claimed to have expertise and a successful track record in trading commodity futures. He also misrepresented the risk of loss in trading commodity futures and issued false account statements showing profits on commodity futures trading that were not realized. The order further finds that Owen pressured individuals to participate in his pools by claiming that, based upon his expert analysis, if they failed to invest, they would miss a huge opportunity in the market. Owen also failed to disclose his prior criminal convictions for fraud.

In a related criminal action brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida-Pensacola Division, Owen pled guilty to multiple counts of commodities fraud, wire fraud and failure to file tax returns. Owen was sentenced to a 60-month sentence in a federal correctional institution.

The CFTC thanks the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida in Pensacola and the Internal Revenue Service for their assistance.

The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: James H. Holl, III, Kara Mucha, Gretchen L. Lowe and Phyllis Cela.

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