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Anthony Ramunno and Renaissance Asset Management fined over USD21m Ponzi scheme

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has announced that a federal district court has ordered Anthony Ramunno, Jr. formerly of Georgia, to pay a USD5.8m civil monetary penalty for operating an illegal commodity pool Ponzi scheme in which over 90 public investors lost over USD21m.

The district court also issued a similar order against Renaissance Asset Management, the company through which Ramunno operated his scheme. That order requires the company to repay investors USD21.2m of the funds they had lost, imposes a civil monetary penalty of USD5.8m, and bans the company from trading commodity futures.

Both orders were entered by US District Court Judge Jack T. Camp in the Northern District of Georgia on 13 February 2009. Judge Camp had previously entered an order of permanent injunction against Ramunno on 23 January 2008, in which the court permanently banned Ramunno from trading commodity futures and banned him from registration with the CFTC.

In its 13 February order against Ramunno, the court noted that it is not ordering Ramunno to pay restitution in his individual capacity because Ramunno already is subject to an order requiring him to pay USD21.2m in criminal restitution entered in a parallel criminal proceeding.

The court's orders stem from a CFTC complaint filed on 24 January 2007, which alleged, in part, that Ramunno and Renaissance issued false statements to investors, including annual reports that reflected substantial profits and false representations that the reports had been audited by an accounting firm.

Stephen J. Obie, the acting director of enforcement for the CFTC, says: 'Here, the civil and criminal processes are working the way they are supposed to. Anthony Ramunno now is serving a long prison sentence imposed by a criminal court and is subject to orders to repay customers and to pay a substantial civil penalty to the government.'

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