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CFTC charges Jonathan Hansen and J Hansen Investments with commodity pool fraud

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has filed a civil anti-fraud enforcement action against Jonathan Hansen of Pearland, Texas, and his company, J Hansen Investments (JHI).

The action charges Hansen and JHI with fraudulently soliciting and accepting more than USD1.1m from the public in a commodity pool scheme. Hansen exercised sole control and ownership over JHI, was JHI’s only employee, and has been a registered associated person of JHI since 30 April 2010, according to the complaint.

The CFTC’s complaint was filed on 24 August 2012, and on 29 August Judge Nancy F. Atlas of the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a statutory restraining order freezing the defendants’ assets and prohibiting the destruction of books and records. The judge set a hearing date for 6 September.

Specifically, the CFTC complaint alleges that from at least April 2009 through January 2012, Hansen and JHI fraudulently solicited and accepted approximately USD1,117,160 from at least 10 members of the public to trade E-Mini S&P 500 futures contracts in a commodity pool he operated. The compliant relates that Hanson solicited participants by conducting individual meetings with potential participants and by word-of-mouth, among other means. Most of the participants were friends and acquaintances of Hansen and his parents, according to the complaint.

Of the amount received from participants, Hansen allegedly transferred approximately USD134,965 to his personal or JHI’s futures trading accounts, both of which sustained consistent losses, and commingled pool funds with his own funds. According to the complaint, Hanson used the misappropriated funds for his personal use, including for car payments, office rent, restaurants, and utilities.

To conceal and perpetuate his fraud, Hansen allegedly prepared and distributed false account statements to participants via e-mail. These monthly statements falsely reported profits earned in pool participants’ trading accounts and inflated the value of the accounts, according to the complaint. Furthermore, Hanson allegedly issued false monthly trading memoranda to pool participants that falsely reported trading returns ranging from 0.58 per cent to 2.20 per cent and annual returns ranging from 10 per cent to 30 per cent.

In its continuing litigation, the CFTC seeks restitution to defrauded pool participants, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, trading and registration bans, and permanent injunctions against further violations of federal commodities laws, as charged.

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