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August 21, 2006
National Futures Association distributes $1.9 million in restitution payments to defrauded investors
August 21, Chicago - National Futures Association (NFA) announced today that it has made an initial distribution of nearly $1.9 million to 241 investors as part of a court order issued on February 10, 2006, against a California company and two of its principals. The case was filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
On August 4, 2004, the CFTC filed a complaint against Chase Commodities Corporation and Lee LaGorio, both of Woodland Hills, California; Excel Obando of Sun Valley, California; and Universal Financial Holding Corporation (UFHC) of Aventura, Florida. The complaint charged Chase with fraudulently soliciting customers by exaggerating the profitability of trading options on futures.
The court ordered the defendants to pay a total of $4.2 million in restitution to defrauded customers; assessed separate $120,000 civil monetary penalties against LaGorio and Obando; permanently enjoined Chase, LaGorio and Obando from engaging in sales solicitation fraud in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations; and banned Chase and LaGorio permanently, and Obando for five years, from trading on markets subject to Commission jurisdiction.
"With this initial distribution of restitution funds 241 investors will receive approximately 60% of their losses," says NFA President Dan Roth. "We are currently receiving monthly payments from the respondents, which will allow us to make additional distributions in the future."
Since NFA started its restitution program in 1988, NFA has distributed more than $9.2 million to over 5,500 investors. NFA's program usually applies to judgments awarded in cases brought by the CFTC involving commodity fraud. As part of the resolution of the case, NFA is named to administer the restitution process.
"Under normal circumstances, court-appointed receivers administer the return of money to harmed investors and charge their fees to the cases, reducing the amount available for distribution," says Roth. "Because NFA does not charge any fees for administering the restitution service, we are able to return as much money as possible to the victims."
For additional information regarding the court order, consult the CFTC press release 5158-06.
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