SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - Two Southern Californians swiped $300,000 from customers through "illegal, off-exchange" commodities trades, and one already had been barred from the industry "for cheating and defrauding customers," the CFTC says in court.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Christopher Valois and Cynthia Wong, husband and wife, both of Irvine, and their companies Bertram Trade LLC and Churchhill Commodities Trading, on Wednesday in Federal Court.
Neither Valois nor Wong nor their companies were registered with the CFTC, and "Valois was disqualified from registration because he had been barred from the futures industry for cheating and defrauding customers," the CFTC says in the complaint.
It claims the defendants "misappropriated at least $300,000" of the $750,000 they took from six customers, some of whom were senior citizens, and that of that money, $450,000 was "fraudulently solicited," and that $300,000 was put into managed futures accounts "even though they were not registered to do so."
The CFTC says the defendants used the $300,000 to pay their personal expenses.
Bertram Trade operated out of Dana Point, Churchhill out of Irvine.
The CFTC seeks an accounting, disgorgement, restitution, penalties and treble damages.
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