From a press release issued by the CFTC...
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it obtained more than $6.2 million in disgorgement and civil monetary penalties in a federal court summary judgment against defendants Marvin Cooper and his company, Billion Coupons, Inc. (BCI), both of Honolulu, Hawaii. The CFTC charged defendants with operating a $4 million foreign currency (forex) and commodity futures Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 125 customers, all of whom were deaf.
The summary judgment, entered by the Honorable J. Michael Seabright of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, stems from a CFTC enforcement action in February 2009 (see CFTC Press Release 5614-09, February 19, 2009). The CFTC’s complaint charged that, since at least September 2007, Cooper, who is deaf, and BCI solicited funds from deaf American and Japanese individuals for the sole purported purpose of trading forex. Cooper and BCI, luring customers with promises of 15 to 25 percent monthly returns, misappropriated more than $1.4 million of customer funds for personal use, including for flying lessons and to purchase a $1 million home, according to the CFTC complaint.
The court’s summary judgment requires Cooper and BCI jointly and severally to pay approximately $3.9 million in disgorgement as restitution to defrauded customers, approximately $2.2 million in civil monetary penalties to the CFTC and $130,000 in civil penalties to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The summary judgment also permanently bars Cooper and BCI from engaging in any commodity-related activity, including trading, and from registering or seeking exemption from CFTC registration.
The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the SEC and the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Office of the Commissioner of Securities.
The CFTC Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this action are Elizabeth Davis, Kenneth W. McCracken, Michael Loconte, Erica Bodin, Rick Glaser and Richard Wagner.