Federal court freezes assets of Houston firm, owner

Washington, DC - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that a federal court in Houston entered an order freezing the assets of Mark E. Rice of Sugar Land, Texas, and his company, Financial Robotics, Inc. (FinRob) of Houston, Texas. The order, entered by Judge Lee H. Rosenthal, also prohibits the destruction of books and records and appoints a temporary receiver. The judge ordered Rice and FinRob to appear in court on July 28, 2011 for a preliminary injunction hearing.

The order arises out of a CFTC civil complaint filed under seal on June 29, 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The complaint charges Rice and FinRob with fraudulently soliciting millions of dollars from at least one individual to trade off-exchange foreign currency (forex) through accounts that they managed. In their solicitations, the defendants allegedly falsely claimed that their investments were insured against loss. The defendants also falsely guaranteed the return of the principal amount invested, according to the complaint.

In its continuing litigation against the defendants, the CFTC seeks restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, a civil monetary penalty, and a permanent injunction against further violations of the federal commodities laws.

The CFTC thanks the National Futures Association, the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission, and the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Commission.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Kevin S. Webb, Michelle S. Bougas, Heather Johnson, James H. Holl, III, Gretchen L. Lowe, and Vince McGonagle.

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