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July 25, 2008
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NFA expels South Florida firm, American Atlantic Financial Corp. and its principal; sanctions its associated persons
July 25, Chicago - National Futures Association (NFA) has permanently barred American Atlantic Financial Corp. (American Atlantic) and its principal, John Menoutis from NFA membership. American Atlantic is an Introducing Broker located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In addition, American Atlantic and Menoutis must each pay a fine of $100,000. American Atlantic's associated persons (APs), David S. Godnick, Tephny Petit Jeune, Richard J. Montece, Thaddeus H. Nathaniel and Nathaniel Walker, were also sanctioned with fines ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, suspensions from NFA membership and tape recording requirements. The Decision, issued by an NFA Hearing Panel, is based on a Complaint filed in April 2007.
The Panel found that American Atlantic and its APs made misleading and high-pressured sales solicitations which cited dramatic profits that were implied to be likely and easily obtainable without disclosing that most of American Atlantic's customers lost money. The Panel also found that American Atlantic and Menoutis failed to diligently supervise their APs sales tactics. According to the Panel, Menoutis' supervisory failings were "compounded by his cavalier attitude towards his regulatory responsibilities and American Atlantic's customers."
According to the Panel, American Atlantic, Menoutis, and its APs had two main goals: "maximize commissions and prevent customers from filing complaints" and that they "pursued both goals with a complete disdain for their customers' best interests."
The Panel described American Atlantic, Menoutis and the respondent APs as representing "the worst in this industry-a firm and a collection of individuals who have eschewed the opportunity to operate honestly and, instead, have chosen to learn how to misrepresent the products they are selling."
American Atlantic, Menoutis, Godnick, Jeune, Montece, Nathaniel and Walker may appeal the Panel's Decision to NFA's Appeals Committee.
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