Ever been scammed by a binary options options broker, robot or signals? If so you may want to read how the CFTC chalks up a win for the good guys.
CFTC Charges Marketer Operating Sophisticated Binary Options Network
The CFTC has recently revealed a series of charges filed against one Jason B. Scharf. Scharf is alleged to have operated a network of affiliate marketing sites through off-shore based shell companies. He and another conspirator, Michael Shah, engaged in offering and marketing binary options robots, auto-traders and other unlicensed products to US traders. The two are suspected of defrauding investors of more than $16 million dollars.
Scharf, a resident of Valley Village, Ca, is said to have operated a number of business registered in off-shore jurisdictions. CIT Investments is the parent company and registered in Nevada, Brevspand EOOD is registered in Bulgaria, A&J Media Partners is a California Corporation, CIT Investments LTD is located in the Marshall Islands and another CIT Investments LTD located in Anguilla. Together these businesses operated a chain of illegal binary options brokerages with attached affiliate marketing scams.
Coconspirator Michael Shah and his company Zilmil are located in Florida. Websites named in the charges include Citrades.com and Autotradingbinary.com. Citrades.com is no longer up, Autotradingbinary.com says it is in maintenance mode and will be back shortly. Shortly after its owners serve a little time I would suspect, if at all.
The schemes are thought to have been running since at least January 2014. The scams took in over 8,000 clients for a total of over $16 million. “The scheme, as alleged, was massive, resulting in the misappropriation of over $16 million from more than 8,000 customers. This action should send a message to would-be fraudsters that the sort of conduct alleged here will not be tolerated. We thank our international law enforcement partners for their assistance in this case,” says James McDonald, director of the CFTC.
There are a number of takeaways in this story. The first is that this isn’t a new scam or new type of scam. It is the same old thing we’ve (the binary options community) has been suffering since the beginning. The only thing that is different is that this time the scammers got caught and not just a little bit. The second is that scammers, fraudsters and otherwise illegally operating binary options brokers, robots, autotraders and signals need to watch out. They are coming to get you. And let me point out the part in the quote above where he thanks the “international law enforcement partners”, the regulators are working together. Soon there won’t be any room for the scams, or at least not much anyway. Finally I want to say this, what a bunch of dumbasses. Seriously. These guys went to the trouble of building an intricate network of shell corporations and front companies in jurisdictions with shady regulation and yet still choose to use US based parent companies AND to remain in the US and within reach of the CFTC while they were at it.
You can read the full press release here.