Finance News

CFTC Sues MOMC Operator Over Alleged Metals Fraud Scheme

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today charged a ‎Florida-based commodity pool operator and his firm in a case involving the ‎operation of a fraudulent precious metals scheme, according to a CFTC ‎statement.‎

Betty Lea Grimes and his company Mark Olsen Mining Company (MOMC) were ‎accused of taking money from customers who thought they were getting gold, ‎silver, and other precious metals in return. ‎Customers were lulled into the false belief that precious metals ‎had been purchased and were stored in MOMC’s vault, but $870,000 million worth of their bullions vanished over two years.

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The complaint also charges MOMC with making several misleading ‎representations to actual and prospective investors. As also alleged, ‎the defendant assured the victims that they were pooling ‎their funds ‎for purported purpose of investing in precious metals, while he was actually running a Ponzi scheme. ‎

Grimes has used several names including Betty Grimes, Lea Grimes, Lea Lauren, Betty Nehme, and Lea Nehme, according to the complaint that accuses the ‎defendants of fraud, misappropriation, registration ‎violations, and issuing false statements.‎

The U.S. derivatives regulator alleged in its complaint the money sent to MOMC was not used to ‎purchase or trade precious metals on its clients’ behalf. Prosecutors said that instead ‎of buying the precious metals ordered by his customers, Grimes ‎spent the money on company expenses, investment activities ‎and for his own personal use and benefit. ‎

As a result of the actions and misappropriation, the ‎commission seeks full restitution to ‎defrauded ‎participants, disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains, a civil ‎monetary ‎penalty, permanent registration and trading ‎bans, and a permanent injunction ‎against violations of ‎federal commodities laws, as charged.‎

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