The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida entered an order requiring defendants David Merrick, previously of Apopka, Fla., and his company, Trader’s International Return Network (TIRN), to jointly pay a civil monetary penalty of over $11.4 million for fraud in connection with a foreign currency trading program that victimized more than 700 customers. The order also requires TIRN, a Panamanian corporation, to pay restitution of $11,437,573 to defrauded customers.
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The CFTC order, entered on January 22, 2013, stems from a complaint filed by the CFTC in 2009, charging the defendants with solicitation fraud and misappropriation of customer funds involving at least $22.5 million. The complaint alleged that the defendants provided customers and prospective customers with written and/or electronic documents that contained materially false and misleading statements and omissions regarding the actual investment of customer funds, the risks of trading, and profits achieved (see CFTC Press Release 5733-09, October 15, 2009).
The court previously entered consent orders of permanent injunction against Merrick on April 22, 2010 and TIRN on September 8, 2010, finding that they violated the anti-fraud provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act, as charged. Both orders reserved the issue of monetary sanctions for future order.
In a related criminal case, United States v. David Merrick, No. 10-cr-00109-MSS-DAB (M.D. Fla.), on January 19, 2012, Merrick was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and securities fraud and one count of money laundering. He was sentenced to 97 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $11,437,573.15 in restitution to 735 customer-victims.