At least $16.4 million in customer funds solicited by making false statements, with more than $2 million misappropriated for personal use.
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced the filing of an enforcement action against Trader’s International Return Network (TIRN), a Panamanian corporation, and its president David Merrick of Apopka, Fla., charging them with solicitation fraud and misappropriation of customer funds involving at least $16.4 million.
According to the CFTC complaint, filed on October 14, 2009, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, TIRN represented itself as a “private investment club” that provided various investment services, including foreign currency (forex) investing, through its purported Real Century forex trading program. As alleged, the defendants accepted at least $16.4 million from customers to participate in TIRN’s investment program; however, no customer funds were invested as described on the TIRN website and in TIRN’s written materials. The CFTC complaint charges the defendants with misappropriating customer funds for various other purposes, including diverting more than $2 million for Merrick’s personal use.
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The CFTC complaint seeks a court order that freezes the defendants’ assets, provides the CFTC with continuing access to books and records and requires an accounting of funds. The CFTC also seeks orders of preliminary and permanent injunction that would require the defendants to disgorge ill-gotten gains, pay restitution to defrauded investors and impose civil monetary penalties.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission simultaneously filed a civil securities enforcement action against TIRN and Merrick in the same district court. The U.S. Attorney’s Office made a parallel criminal investigation public on October 7, 2009, when it executed numerous simultaneous search and forfeiture seizure warrants.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this action: William P. Janulis, Barry R. Blankfield, Ken Hampton, Scott Williamson, Rosemary Hollinger and Richard B. Wagner.