Alphametrix LLC, a Chicago-based commodity pool operator, was accused of misappropriating $2.8 million belonging to pool participants in a lawsuit filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Alphametrix, which had about $700 million in client assets as recently as Aug. 31, warned last month that was running short on cash and said last week it would begin closing investment pools.
From Jan. 1 through the end of October, Alphametrix breached an obligation to reinvest at least $2.8 million worth of rebates into pools it was operating, according to the CFTC’s complaint filed today in federal court in Chicago.
“Instead, Alphametrix transferred these funds from accounts held in the name of commodity pools that it operated into bank accounts held in Alphametrix’s name,” and from there into bank accounts held by its corporate parent, Alphametrix Group LLC, the CFTC alleged.
Both businesses are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Alphametrix LLC is accused of violating the federal Commodity Exchange Act while Alphametrix Group is accused of unjust enrichment.
The regulator is seeking a court order freezing company assets and enjoining the destruction of books and records.
Alphametrix’s media relations department didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment on the CFTC’s allegations.
Alphametrix told clients in October it was experiencing “significant cash flow issues” and fired Chief Financial Officer George Brown, the brother-in-law of Chief Executive Officer Aleks Kins.
The firm, which also runs conferences featuring high- profile speakers such as former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, had marketed itself as a haven for investors from fraudsters such as Bernard Madoff.
The case is U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Alphametrix LLC, 13-cv-07896, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).