CFTC Levies ‎‎$600,000 Fine on Irena Feldman for ‎Commodity Pool Fraud

U.S. watchdog imposed a fine and permanent ban against ‎the fraudsters ‏for engaging in fictitious forex transactions.‎

Two California‎-based companies and its principal Irena Feldman will pay a more than $600,000 ‎penalty to settle claims of defrauding investors through operating an unregistered ‎commodity pool that offered forex and commodity futures transactions, ‎according to a regulatory announcement from the U.S. Commodity Futures ‎Trading Commission (CFTC).‎

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The CFTC says Beverly Hills resident Irena Feldman and her companies ‎Cindium Inc. and ‎Einstein Exchange Group Inc., both located in Century City, ‎California‎, fraudulently solicited approximately $401,000 from at least 30 ‎victims. While she ‎was actually running a Ponzi scheme, Feldman claimed that these funds would participate in a commodity pool for trading in a portfolio of ‎financial instruments including forex, futures, options, commodities, and for other investments.

Instead ‎of using the investors’ monies in trading, Feldman allegedly ‎misappropriated all of the pool participants’ funds, which was largely spent on ‎personal expenses such as travel, meals, car payments, payment of traffic ‎violations, and purchases at luxury retailers. As also ‎alleged, she used some new investors’ funds to pay back other investors in a Ponzi-‎like fashion, so that they would invest or refer additional money, thereby ‎allowing the scheme to continue for a longer period of time.‎

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‎In ‎addition, Einstein and Cindium were charged with acting as a CPO and ‎CTA without registering as such with the U.S. watchdog as required.‎

Outsized returns

In connection with the promotion of her pool, Feldman, using an internet ‎website, made a series of materially false claims to lure investors interested in ‎forex trading. The claim was made that pool participants could get monthly ‎returns on investments of 2% to 5%, although the website guaranteed ‎returns of between 2% to 10%. In addition, she claimed that her investors’ ‎capital would be fully guaranteed against losses by particular loan agreements. ‎

The U.S. derivatives regulator’s order requires Feldman, Cindium, and ‎Einstein to jointly and severally to pay restitution of $401,000 and a ‎‎$200,000 civil monetary penalty. In addition to the fiscal penalties, the order ‎imposes permanent trading, ‎solicitation and registration bans against the ‎respondents. Furthermore, it permanently bars them from engaging in any ‎commodity-related activities and requires them to cease and desist from violating ‎the provisions of the CEA, as charged.‎

Finally, the CFTC warned victims in its statement that they may not recover ‎their lost money because the wrongdoers may not have sufficient funds ‎or assets.‎

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