CFTC Orders Florida Firms, Joseph Glenn Commodities LLC and JGCF LLC, and Owners Scott Newcom and Anthony Pulieri to Pay over $1 Million in Restitution and Penalties for Fraudulent Off-Exchange Transactions in Precious Metals with Retail Customers
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently issued an Order filing and settling charges against two Boca Raton, Fla., companies, Joseph Glenn Commodities LLC (Joseph Glenn) and JGCF LLC (JGCF), and their sole owners and principals, Scott Newcom and Anthony Pulieri (the Respondents) for engaging in illegal, fraudulent off-exchange financed transactions in precious metals with retail customers.
The CFTC Order, filed on March 27, 2013, requires Joseph Glenn, JGCF, Newcom, and Pulieri to pay approximately $635,000 in restitution to customers for their losses and to return approximately $330,000 remaining in customers' accounts. The Order requires Pulieri to pay a civil monetary penalty of $100,000. The Order also permanently prohibits the Respondents from registering with the CFTC and imposes a five-year trading ban on trading for others. In addition, the Order prohibits the Respondents from violating the Commodity Exchange Act, as charged, and requires them to comply with certain undertakings, including fully and expeditiously cooperating with the CFTC.
The Illegal and Fraudulent Transactions
The CFTC Order finds that from July 2011 through June 2012, the Respondents solicited retail customers, generally by telephone or through Joseph Glenn's website, to buy physical precious metals such as gold, silver, copper, platinum, or palladium in what are known as off-exchange leverage transactions. According to the Order, the customers paid the Respondents a portion of the purchase price for the metals, and Joseph Glenn and JGCF purportedly financed the remainder of the purchase price, while charging the customers interest on the amount they purportedly loaned to customers.
The CFTC Order states that such financed off-exchange transactions with retail customers have been illegal since July 16, 2011, when certain amendments of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act) became effective. As explained in the Order, financed transactions in commodities with retail customers like those engaged in by the Respondents must be executed on, or subject to, the rules of an exchange approved by the CFTC. Since the Respondents' transactions were done off-exchange with retail customers, they were illegal.
Furthermore, the CFTC Order states that when Joseph Glenn and JGCF engaged in these illegal transactions they were acting as dealers for a metals merchant called Hunter Wise Commodities, LLC (Hunter Wise), which the CFTC charged with fraud and other violations in federal court in Florida on December 5, 2012 (see CFTC Press Release 6447-12). Hunter Wise was purportedly Joseph Glenn's and JGCF's source for the metal and the loans. As alleged in the CFTC Complaint against Hunter Wise and according to the CFTC Order in this case, however, neither Joseph Glenn, JGCF, nor Hunter Wise purchased or held metal on the customers' behalf, or disbursed any funds to finance the remaining balance of the purchase price. The Order finds that the Respondents' customers thus never owned, possessed, or received title to the physical commodities that they believed they purchased.
The Order also finds that the Respondents defrauded their customers by misrepresenting the profitability of the financed off-exchange transactions and failing to disclose associated commissions, service, and interest fees.
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