US court orders Argentine trader Diego Mariano Rolando to pay over USD10m

US court orders Argentine trader Diego Mariano Rolando to pay over USD10m

The US District Court for the District of Connecticut has entered a default judgment order against Diego Mariano Rolando, a citizen of Argentina, finding that he committed commodity futures and options fraud.

The order requires him to pay more than USD10m in civil monetary penalties and restitution, and orders a US futures commission merchant to release more than USD23m of frozen customer funds to Rolando's investors.

Specifically, the order finds that from 2005 through 2007, Rolando operated a fraudulent investment scheme in which he solicited more than USD34m from hundreds of customers residing in the US and around the world.

According to the order, Rolando engaged in fraudulent unauthorized trading in customers' accounts, used false customer information to open accounts in order to control the flow of information between the FCM and his customers, and provided false account statements to customers to hide trading losses he was incurring in their accounts.

The order also finds that Rolando made numerous material misrepresentations and omissions to customers about their investments including falsely representing to customers that his investment system focused on conservative growth in highly rated stocks on the US markets when, in reality, the majority of customer funds were used to trade highly speculative futures and options.

In addition, he falsely represented that IA Trading, a phony company set up by Rolando, was a sophisticated financial operation complete with its own trading platform and was affiliated with a US clearing firm and falsely represented that on 4 December 2007, the value of customer accounts aggregated approximately USD40m when, in reality, the collective value of customer accounts as of that date was only approximately USD23m.

The order stems from a Commodity Futures Trading Commission complaint filed against Rolando on 15 January this year.

The order permanently enjoins Rolando from violating certain provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and bans Rolando from trading on markets subject to CFTC jurisdiction or engaging in any conduct requiring CFTC registration.

Further, the court ordered that the more than USD23m frozen by the court at the outset of this case, along with the restitution awarded, be returned to customers by Daniel R Alonso, the court-appointed receiver, through the receiver's equitable plan of distribution.

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