SEC files complaint against forex fraud

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Last Wednesday the SEC filed a complaint against a forex hedge fund manager who was supposedly using a “trading robot” to generate huge returns. It turns out the forex hedge fund manager and the trading robot did not generate the outsized returns, but instead lost investor money. There are two very important items to note here:

1. It is scams like this that has the SEC and CFTC on the offensive to regulate the spot forex market.

2. Again, it is so important for all investors to do proper due diligence on managers and to make sure they know what they are investing in. These fraudsters give a bad name to all hedge fund managers and, sometimes, they can be stopped if the right questions are asked in the beginning.

SEC Release:

Litigation Release No. 20688

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Royal Forex Management, LLC and Patrick H. Haxton, (U.S.D.C., Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, Civil Action No. 3:08-CV-1467-L)

SEC Accuses Carrolton, Texas, Man of Selling Fraudulent Securities Involving Foreign Currency Trading

On August 20, 2008, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an action in Dallas federal court to halt an alleged unregistered and fraudulent offering of securities by Patrick H. Haxton of Carrollton, Texas, and his company Royal Forex Management, LLC (”Royal”). The securities were investment contracts involving the trading of foreign currencies on the Forex market. On August 21, 2008, United States District Judge Sam A. Lindsay entered a temporary restraining order suspending the offering and orders freezing the defendants’ assets, requiring sworn accountings, prohibiting any alteration or destruction of documents and expediting discovery. The court set a hearing for September 4, 2008 to consider the Commission’s application for preliminary injunctive relief.

The defendants named in the Commission’s Complaint are: Patrick H. Haxton, age 51, of Carrollton, Texas, the owner and sole manager of Royal; and Royal Forex Management, LLC, a Texas limited liability corporation operated out of Haxton’s Carrollton home.

The Commission’s Complaint alleges that from at least June 2007 to the present Haxton, personally and through Royal, raised at least $305,000 from 8 investors in three states.

Royal’s promotional materials and Haxton’s oral statements are replete with representations of phenomenal past trading returns, including claims of 400% to 500% annual returns, generated by a complex software program named “The Currency Trading Robot” (”Trading Robot”), purportedly created by Haxton. On the web site, Haxton claims to have a great history and to have been a very successful trader since 2000. Haxton and the web site also represent that there is very little risk of loss.

The Commission alleges, however, that these representations are materially false and misleading. For instance, the Commission contends that Haxton and Royal never generated the claimed phenomenal returns by trading currency. Indeed, according to the Complaint, Haxton lost a significant portion of investor funds trading foreign currencies and misappropriated the remaining funds for his own personal use. In some instances, investor funds were never traded, but were used to pay business and personal expenses.

The defendants are charged with securities fraud under Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and with conducting an unregistered offering under Section 5 of the Securities Act. The Complaint also seeks permanent injunctions, civil penalties and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, among other relief, against each defendant.

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