The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has filed and simultaneously settled charges against Mark Adrian of Delray Beach, Florida, for his role in issuing false statements to customers in a fraudulent foreign currency (forex) scheme. The CFTC order requires Adrian to pay a USD140,000 civil monetary penalty and prohibits him from trading for or on behalf of any other person and applying for registration with the CFTC. Adrian is currently not registered with the CFTC.
The CFTC order finds that, from approximately 2005 through approximately August 2008, KJW Capital Management, LLC (KJW), where Adrian was an employee and member, solicited customers — directly and indirectly through brokers — to open managed accounts in which KJW would trade off-exchange forex on behalf of these customers. KJW used purported proprietary trading methodologies and obtained more than USD18.4 million from at least 58 customers, according to the order. KJW traded forex in individual customer accounts at Avidus Trading, LLC (Avidus), where Adrian was also an employee and member, and where all of KJW’s customers were required to open and maintain forex trading accounts, according to the order.
Customers suffered significant forex trading losses, and, instead of informing customers of these losses, Adrian created false bank records and spreadsheets to hide the losses from customers, the order finds. For example, one of Avidus’ Dresdner Bank (Dresdner) account statements that Adrian falsified had the same font, color and account number as the actual Dresdner statement; however, the balances were vastly different, the order finds. The actual Dresdner balance totaled USD181,000, whereas the Dresdner balance per Adrian was USD2,488,000, according to the order.
The information contained in these false bank records and spreadsheets became the basis for numerous oral and written material misrepresentations and omissions made to customers, the order finds. By these misrepresentations and omissions, Adrian deceived customers into not withdrawing their funds, which resulted in customers suffering losses of at least USD2.3 million, according to the order.
In a related criminal proceeding, the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois filed an information against Adrian on September 13, 2010 (Case No. 1:10-cr-00754). Adrian pleaded guilty to wire fraud on October 26, 2010. Sentencing is scheduled for August 2, 2011.