The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed and simultaneously settled charges against Luis Salazar-Correa of Las Vegas, Nev., and his Nevada-based company, Prosperity Team, LLC, for fraudulently soliciting individuals to participate in a pooled investment vehicle, misappropriating customer funds, and issuing false statements to conceal trading losses and the fraud.
The CFTC order requires Salazar-Correa and Prosperity Team jointly and severally to pay a $1 million civil monetary penalty and restitution of $1,641,000. The order permanently prohibits Salazar-Correa and Prosperity Team from engaging in certain commodity-related activities, including trading, and from registering or seeking exemption from registration with the CFTC. The order also permanently prohibits the respondents from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, as charged.
The order finds that from about February 2009 through at least June 2010, Salazar-Correa and Prosperity Team fraudulently solicited and accepted at least $2,482,000 from at least 183 customers primarily for the purpose of trading leveraged or margined off-exchange foreign currency (forex) contracts through a pool investment vehicle, also known as Prosperity Team. In soliciting potential customers, Salazar-Correa falsely guaranteed monthly returns varying from 10 percent to 25 percent, depending on the amount invested, and misrepresented the risks of trading forex, the order finds.
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Rather than achieving the claimed returns, the respondents consistently sustained trading losses, which cumulated in overall losses of approximately $1,566,000, and operated a Ponzi scheme by misappropriating customers’ funds to make payments to other customers, the order finds.
Salazar-Correa and Prosperity Team concealed the massive trading losses and their misappropriation of customer funds by issuing false statements, which were accessible to customers online through Prosperity Team’s website, the order finds.
The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation in Las Vegas, Nev., the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, the International Financial Services Commission of Belize, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, and the U.K. Financial Services Authority.