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CFTC charges Madison Dean with forex fraud

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has filed a civil enforcement action in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging Madison Dean, Inc of Wantagh, NY, and its principals, George Athanasatos, also of Wantagh, and Laurence Dodge of Fresh Meadows, NY, with fraudulently soliciting approximately 19 persons to invest approximately USD415,000 in managed trading accounts to trade off-exchange foreign currency (forex) contracts on a leverage or margined basis. None of the defendants has ever been registered with the CFTC.

The CFTC complaint, filed on May 8, 2012, alleges that from approximately December 2008 through approximately July 2010, defendants Madison Dean, Athanasatos, and Dodge, through an Internet website, written solicitation materials, and other actions, misrepresented and omitted material facts about Madison Dean, including the background and qualifications of Madison Dean employees and the firm’s performance record, to create a false impression that it was a well-established and successful company.

Specifically, according to the complaint, the defendants allegedly fraudulently claimed that 1) Madison Dean had been in existence since 1998, 2) Madison Dean’s customers included high net worth individuals, financial institutions, and institutional clients, 3) Madison Dean provided “professional money managers” who would be in charge of the forex trading for the customers’ managed accounts, and 4) Madison Dean had been making money for its customers for years.

Contrary to these claims, Madison Dean had not been making money for its customers for years, as it did not exist prior to December 2008, and its customers were “neither high net worth individuals, financial institutional or other institutional clients, hedge funds, nor millionaires,” according to the complaint. Also, according to the complaint, Madison Dean did not have professional money managers in charge of customer trading. Rather, Athansatos allegedly managed the trading of customer accounts, and on various occasions, Dodge and Athanasatos’ mother – neither a professional money manager – also traded customer accounts.

The complaint further alleges that Madison Dean’s customers lost approximately USD250,000, “as a result of its poor trading.” As further alleged, after being in operation for a little over a year, during which time the firm collected approximately USD112,000 in commissions and fees, Madison Dean shut down its operation with no notice to its customers and no way for those customers to contact the company or anyone associated with it. In its continuing litigation, the CFTC seeks civil monetary penalties, restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, trading and registration bans, and preliminary and permanent injunctions against further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, as charged.

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