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Michael Kourmolis banned from futures industry for fraudulent solicitation

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The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has obtained a consent order against Michael Kourmolis of Brooklyn, New York, permanently prohibiting him from engaging in any activity related to trading any commodity interests, including soliciting funds, registering with the CFTC and trading on behalf of others or himself.

The court’s order, entered on 10 November 2009, in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, stems from a CFTC complaint filed on 23 July 2003, against defendants Kourmolis, Thomas Qualls, and International Foreign Currency. The CFTC’s litigation continues against IFC and Qualls.

The CFTC complaint alleged, and the court’s order finds, that Kourmolis fraudulently solicited customers to open accounts at IFC to trade foreign currency futures contracts.

The order finds that in his solicitations, Kourmolis falsely told at least one customer that because of IFC’s “large fund and our banks and institutions overseas,” IFC had the ability to “maximise profit potential while also minimizing capital risk.”

Kourmolis also misleadingly represented in writing that customers would have personal accounts and that their funds were insured by a bank for up to USD25m.

In a related matter, in January 2007 a grand jury in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York indicted Qualls on several counts of wire and mail fraud and obstruction of justice. The obstruction of justice counts alleged in part that Qualls concealed documents with an intent to impair the CFTC’s action and made false statements in a CFTC deposition. On 5 November 2008, a jury convicted Qualls. Prior to the verdict, Qualls fled and was later arrested in Canada.

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