CFTC Enforcement Attorneys
CFTC Commodity Trading Charge Defense Lawyer
The CFTC is very aggressive at enforcing commodity-related laws and regulations. The CFTC works closely with the US Attorney’s Office and the DOJ. If you are being investigated, it’s likely you might face criminal investigations as well. At Spodek Law Group, we are committed to providing quality representations, and pragmatic advice, to clients facing commodities trading offenses in the USA.
The CFTC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is a federal enforcement division that is charged with enforcing laws under the CEA – also known as the Commodity Exchange Act. The CFTC leads all investigations pertaining to illegal trades of commodities, futures, and swaps. It works off tips provided by the public, including individuals, and private businesses. What makes the CFTC dangerous to individuals and businesses is the fact it works VERY CLOSELY with federal, state, and foreign governments, in order to ensure the law is being enforced and illegal trades are punished.
What penalties can I face
If investigated by the CFTC, you could face a criminal investigation in addition to civil penalties. CFTC investigations can lead to both civil and criminal penalties. It means if you’re investigated, you need an experienced CFTC defense lawyer who can limit the scope of the investigation, and limit the effect of criminal charges. The administrative process in a commodities trading offense investigation can result in monetary penalties – such as: freezing your assets, order restitution, seizure of profits from illegal trades, and more. You could be suspended, restricted, or face complete revocation of your right to trade.
CFTC Subpoenas should not be ignored. Speak to a CFTC Subpoena Lawyer Today
Commodities trading offenses can result in criminal charges. If they are filed, and the case goes to trial, a conviction can result in fines and imprisonment. At Spodek Law Group, we work to help our clients get comprehensive representation when it comes to charges for commodities trading. We believe in providing personalized legal representation, and take the time to know the specifics of your exact case. We will work with you through the entire process, and help you understand what accusations you face – and how to build a credible case to defend yourself. We understand your freedom and livelihood are at stake – and will help you make the choices necessary to protect yourself. We understand how distressing an administrative investigation, in addition to criminal charges, can be.
We are committed to helping you pick the appropriate course of action that balances your needs, and takes into consideration your legal liabilities. We offer a risk-free consultation with our clients and are available 24/7. We can take over a case at any stage.
ARE YOU FACING A CFTC ENFORCEMENT ACTION? THE SPODEK LAW GROUP HAS OVER 40 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, AND CAN HELP YOU WITH YOUR ENFORCEMENT ACTION, AND ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.
The CFTC is a powerful entity – especially when it comes to futures, options, or swaps. It regulates all actions on exchanges and OTC trades. Unlike similar organizations like FINRA, CFTC enforcement actions can be enacted against any operator, not just brokers — it means everyone in the industry has to comply. If you are unsure about CFTC compliance requirements it’s helpful to speak to our CFTC attorneys.
Basics about the CFTC
The CFTC is an entity which you need to be aware of, when it comes to futures, options, or swaps. This agency is responsible for virtually everything pertaining to futures and options markets, for derivates that are related to commodities and products which are subject to the Commodity Exchange Act.
The CFTC has power to inflict penalties for violations of the CFTC regulations. The sanctions can be fines, bans, or even criminal penalties. The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission, known as the CFTC, Division of Enforcement investigates and furthermore – prosecutes, any alleged violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC Regulations. The Spodek Law Group has over 40 years of experience, and understands how to defend clients involved in CFTC inquiries, formal investigations, and CFTC enforcement actions. Our team of attorneys work with individual traders and large corporations alike. We can work with your in-house legal department and management teams in order to achieve your goal of avoiding prosecution. It’s critical that before any new commodities investigations occur – that you have a strategy and method of getting a favorable resolution. In some cases, it can be a good idea to work with the government cooperatively. In other cases, it’s better to have a defensive posture. Regardless of the strategy – rest assured it’s in your best efforts.
With the more recent Dodd-Frank amendment, there’s increased authority granted to the CFTC and it’s Division of Enforcement. As a result, the CFTC is very aggressive. Our CFTC enforcement lawyers can help you.
For over 100 years, the CFTC has been helping to make sure that the futures and options market remains honest and helpful to its participants. The CFTC, or the U.S. Commodities Futures and Trading Commission, is an agency within the U.S. government that’s independent and was created in 1974. This was when the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974 was established.
What are Futures and Options?
Before understanding what the CFTC does, it’s important to understand what they protect. Futures and options are contracts centered around the capability of buying or selling an asset at a particular time in the future. Whereas futures contracts obligate its owner to buy or sell, options contracts only grant its owner the right to do so. There is a market around trading futures and options contracts. Businesses are likely to be participants so as to help save money on commodities just in case the prices of those commodities go up in the future.
Futures commodities have been around since the 1860s. These markets play a big role in the economy. Ranchers, farmers, and other producers use this market for an established rate on price. While locking in on prices for commodities, businesses can focus on creating new jobs, innovating, and producing services and goods for their consumers.
CFTC Mission and Responsibilities
The mission of the CFTC is to encourage the growth and development of the futures and options trading market. They want to help make the market competitive, public, fair, and financially solid. The CFTC works to lower systemic risk and protect the users from fraudulent, abusive, and manipulative practices.
The responsibilities of the CFTC is to regulate this market and enforcing the Commodities Exchange Act, or CEA. The CEA was actually established long before the CFTC in 1936. This act was created to regulate the futures and options trading. It’s actually a revised version of the Grain Futures Act, established in 1922.
As a result, the Department of Agriculture no longer has these responsibilities as they previously had since the 1920s. The agency now overlooks a large number of organizations and individuals of many variances in the derivative market. Over time, the market has opened up to include many more commodities including gold, gas, and copper.
The History of the Futures Trading Industry and the CFTC
Before the CFTC, futures commodity trading started in the 1860s. The main commodities being traded were within the agriculture sector. Therefore, the Grain Futures Act in 1922 was then enforced by the Department of Agriculture. They also helped to regulate the young market. The Grain Futures Act was then modified and became the new Commodities Exchange Act in 1936. What changed was that it was no longer only certain futures commodities that were being traded was regulated, but now all futures commodities. This paved the way for newer commodities to enter the market, including crude oil and silver.
The CFTC was then established in 1974. They assumed the responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture in administering the futures trading industry. In recent times, then-president Obama increased the authority of regulation for the CFTC. This was to help govern the swap market which, due to lack of control, ended up being the major cause of the 2008 financial crisis.
The extra authority given to the CFTC was due to the Dodd-Frank Act. Also known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act allowed the CFTC to monitor over $400 trillion worth of the swaps markets. This act has helped to reduce the number of risks in the U.S. financial system. Recently, though, Donald Trump has launched the CHOICE Act. This act is meant to take away that authority and “give it back to the American people.” It was passed by the House, but many speculate that it won’t get passed by the Senate.
CFTC Organization Divisions and Offices
The organization itself is governed by five commissioners. They are chosen by the President and each of them has to serve for five years. The President also chooses which of the five commissioners will be the Chairman. There can be up to three commissioners at once that are in the same political party. The offices contain ten sections, including the chief economist, whistleblower office, office of minority and women inclusion, and the general counsel.
The divisions of the CFTC organization include Enforcement, Clearing and Risk, Marketing Oversight, and Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO). Enforcement is in charge of investigating any potential violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. Individuals who violate the act will be tried in court. The Clearing and Risk Division focuses on clearing futures and swaps. Marketing Oversight is the division that helps the markets to stay secure, fair, and open. DSIO supervises futures organizations that are self-regulatory.
THE SPODEK LAW GROUP HANDLES CFTC INVESTIGATIONS AND CFTC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS THROUGHOUT THE USA.
The United States Commodity Future Trading Commission(CFTC) Division of Enforcement investigates, and prosecutors, any violations it sees are against the spirit of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations.
It’s essential that whenever a commodities investigation, or enforcement action, is initiated – that you have a sound strategy which is going to end in a favorable resolution. In some cases, it can make sense to work with the government. In other cases, it’s better to have a defensive posture.
DODD-FRANK AMENDEMENTS HAVE INCREASED CFTC AUTHORITY
It’s no secret, the Dodd-Frank bill increased the authority the CFTC has. The CFTC now has more authority, and more enforcement capabilities than ever before. As a result, the CFTC is showing unprecedented strength and aggressiveness when pursuing investigations and trading activity in the commodity markets. All commodities, ranging from bitcoins to precious metals, are being investigated. Prior to Dodd-Frank, the CFTC had no jurisdiction over leveraged precious metals anywhere in the USA.
If you are under investigation, consider speaking to the Spodek Law Group attorneys. We understand what’s at stake, and can help handle all enforcement actions. Our only goal is to get you a favorable result. We will do a complete review of your case and give you legal options. Our law firm works to ensure that you make a sound decision.
What Is the Commodities Furures Trading Commission (CFTC)?
You think about investing in corn by year end, but remember last year’s arid summer when prices soared. What will happen this year? How can you buy the corn at today’s price and bypass another bad crop? Enter the commodity futures contract, an instrument that allows investors to buy or sell an agreed-upon number of units on a specified date yet to come. Even better, the price is locked in, whatever happens between contract execution and fulfillment. Best of all, you can sell the contract for a profit before ever taking possession of the commodity. So, if the price of corn skyrockets after you buy, you stand to make a nice profit.
Of course commodity prices are notoriously volatile. Whether corn and soybeans, lean hogs and pork bellies, gold and silver, or domestic and international currencies, the respective values often undergo violent swings. The potential for big yields attracts speculators while newbie investors are frequently burned by bad information. Such an environment poses temptations to engage in fraud and deception. In response, the U.S. Congress formed the Commodities Futures Trading Commission in 1974 to protect investors, consumers and the general public from unethical and deceitful practices in commodities markets.
As the introductory example indicates, commodities trading was originally an agricultural endeavor. In the middle of the 19th century, as farmers were relying on traders to sell their grain, the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was established as a centralized point of exchange. Soon after, the Kansas City Board of Trade opened its doors. Before these institutions, grain was traded privately by means of forward contracts. With the advent of exchanges, the agreements were standardized, giving rise to the futures contract.
As the 1800s rolled on, the exchanges regulated themselves. For instance, some purchasers were manipulating contracts so sellers were unable meet their obligations. Once the seller was found in breach, the buyer would then wrest money from the trader through blackmail. In 1868, CBOT banned these types of schemes known as “corners.” As exchanges popped up in Minneapolis and New York, among other places, Congress introduced legislation to regulate commodities trading. Some laws exacted taxes on futures transactions while others imposed monitoring and reporting requirements.
Perhaps the most comprehensive of these legislative acts was the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936. Wide in scope, this law banned dummy trades known as “wash trading” and anti-competitive deals dubbed “accommodation trading.” For all of its remedies, non-transparent transactions and unfair practices continued. Having enough by 1974, Congress amended the Act and charged the Commodities Futures Trading Corporation with enforcing it.
What Does CFTC Do?
Per its mission statement, the CFTC promotes openness, competition, soundness and transparency where commodity derivatives (futures contracts) are traded. In so doing, the Commission strives to protect participants from “systemic risk.” While commodities futures are inherently risky, CFTC aims at built-in inequities and abuses that magnify the exposure. This entails monitoring the activities of all parties to a trade, including merchants, dealers, swap facilities and data storage repositories. Although its initial jurisdictions were outlined in the Commodity Exchange Act, other authority comes from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
Included in its more recent oversight responsibilities are the swap markets. Swaps differ from futures in thst the latter are contractually conveyed based on the price of the underlying asset (crude oil or silver, e.g.). Swaps, on the other hand, trade in cash flows as opposed to ownership. Merchants can trade interest payments on a debt, for example. In taking on this regulatory authority, the CFTC assumes responsibility for a market 12 times as large as the futures market.
Who Runs the CFTC?
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is overseen by five commissioners appointed by the president of the United States and conformed by the Senate. One Commissioner is designated as the chairman. Aiming for political balance, the law creating the CFTC mandates that no more than three commissioners at any given time can be from the same political party. The four major divisions of CFTC are Clearing and Risk, Enforcement, Market Oversight and–as indicated above–Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight.
In addition, the Commission communicates to the markets through its constituent committees. These boards specialize in agriculture, energy, global markets, risk and Securities and Exchange Committee liason.
Is the CFTC Really Necessary?
Without delving into the philosophical arguments of more or less government, all can agree that the ins and outs of futures trading benefit from more transparency and greater integrity. How well the CFTC provides these can be argued both ways. The history of futures trading, at any rate, demonstrates that independent oversight is better for traders and consumers.
CFTC ATTORNEY PROFFER
A CFTC proffer is also known as “queen for a day.” They are agreements made between federal attorneys and individuals under investigation. It allows the individual to tell the government about what they know – with protection against them in any proceedings later. Attorney proffers are different, and occur when an attorney talks to the government without the client present.
It is the first step before a client proffer, since it gives the government a way to learn about what the client knows and will say – without having to negotiate immunity and other information. An attorney proffer is great because it gives the lawyer an opportunity to influence what the government thinks about the client – and influence the value of the client in the eyes of the prosecutor. During an attorney proffer, the attorney makes a presentation to the prosecutor, in addition to you(the client) answering questions the prosecutor has.
Like any type of proffer deal, a CFTC proffer has risks. The biggest risk is the fact what you tell the government could cause the investigation to expand. Government investigations are confidential, and there’s a risk of over-informing the government.
If you are facing an investigation by the CFTC, we encourage you to speak to the Spodek Law Group. We can help.
FAQ about CFTC Attorney Proffers
During investigations, prosecutors try to use proffer letters to get information from people under investigation, or who are witnesses to crimes. These agreements can bring benefits and come with risks.
What’s a client proffer letter
It’s an agreement drafted by prosecutors which sets rules for a potential conversation between a prosecutor and the defendant/witness. The witness tells the government everything they know about alleged crimes. This information will not be used against the client.
How might you benefit from this
Over 95% of people charged with a crime get convicted. Over 90% of people resolve their cases with a plea agreement. The government often wins most trials. Most of the time, people charged with a crime will make a deal. Sometimes the person who makes a deal the fastest – gets the best deal. When your lawyer makes a deal with the government, he/she is selling the government on the fact your knowledge is the most valuable to the government’s case. The CFTC attorney proffer is a way to accomplish that.
What’s the drawback of doing this
First, you’re telling the government things it may not necessarily know. Your exposing yourself to pressure, because if the government doesn’t believe your saying the truth – it can charge you with false statements. An unsuccessful interview could create additional crimes your client is charged wit.
What type of immunity does a CFTC proffer agreement offer?
These proffer agreements offer limited immunity. In the 1950’s, the government wanted information from people, so it called transactional immunity. It meant you couldn’t be prosecuted for the “transaction,” that you had provided information for. It mean lots of murderers didn’t get charged with murder. The government began offering immunity. This immunity prevents indirect, and direct, use of information the informant provides. Moreover, the government realized that this program was resulting in tons of great information, like additional names, additional informants, additional unreported crimes, etc. Now in a CFTC proffer agreements, as long as you abide by the proffer agreement – your words will not be used against you. Stray away from the agreement, and your words will be used against you.
Usually the government wants to talk to the witness directly and see what they have to say. They don’t like offering immunity unless they have to. They would rather prefer a client pleads guilty to something minor.
SEC And CFTC Enforcement Lawyer
Any investigation pertaining to the SEC or the CFTC is serious. These are serious investigations that can lead to both criminal and civil penalties. While FINRA disciplinary actions apply to professional conduct, and have consequences which apply only to finance and securities industries – an SEC or a CFTC investigation can lead to criminal consequences. While FINRA disciplinary actions might only apply to professional conduct, and can have consequences within the finance and securities industry only — an SEC, or a CFTC investigation can result in criminal consequences in addition to civil penalties.
Our law firm can help with SEC and CFTC issues such as:
- “Churning” (excessive trading)
- Insider trading
- Misrepresentation, omissions and false statements
- Unsuitable investments
- Unauthorized trades
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Failure to execute trades
- Failure to supervise brokers
- Breach of contract
- Margin account abuse
- Registration violations
- Professional negligence
- Market manipulation
A recent report that came out on Mar. 20, 2018 revealed the role that CFTC is playing the U.S. economy. Apparently, the CFTC has announced that Middle District of Florida Judge Brian J. Davis has ordered Maverick International, Inc. together with its principals Wesley Allen Brown and Edward Rubin to pay $8,605,274.92 for committing commodity futures fraud and for violating commodity laws of the federal government. It seems that the CFTC is actively performing its role of safeguarding commodity trading in the country. What is CFTC and what is its role in protecting the citizens of the United States?
The Nature Of The CFTC
CFTC is the acronym for Commodity Futures Trading Commission. It is a U. S. government agency that was established in 1974 and its fundamental task is to regulate the country’s option and futures market. The CFTC is the U.S. agency that implements the Commodities Exchange Act which bans dishonest practices in the futures trading market.
A Brief History Of The CFTC
For over 150 years, contract for futures of agricultural commodities are being traded in the country. Starting in the 1920s the regulation and supervision of this sector of the U.S. economy has fallen on the shoulders of the Federal government. The first law that regulated the commodities and futures market in the U.S. is the Grain Futures Act of 1922. It was later taken over in 1936 by the Commodity Exchange Act.
During the 1970s, the trading of future contracts has significantly increased beyond its normal agricultural and physical commodities limit and incorporated a broad range of financial instruments that included foreign and U.S. stock indices, foreign and U.S. government securities, and foreign currencies.
In 1974, the U.S. Congress created the CFTC with its mandate to regulate the futures market. Through the provisions of the 1974 Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act, the agency was established. It effectively replaced the Commodity Exchange Authority of the country’s Department of Agriculture. With this Act, the CFTC became the sole authority of the U.S. government to regulate the options and commodity futures markets in the country.
In December 2000, the mandate of the CFTC was renewed and increased by the passing of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 by the U.S. Congress. This act ordered the CFTC together with the SEC to create a joint regulatory body for products of single-stock futures which have started trading in November 2002. By 2003, swaps have considerably increased in value since they were launched in the latter months of 1970s. In 2010, CFTC’s authority increased further with the passing of the Dodd-Frank Act which gave it authority over the swaps market. This act prevented the careless implementation of manipulative schemes that circumvents the need to determine the actual intent of the accused to change prices and the creation of artificial prices.
The Primary Mission of the CFTC
As stated in its official website, CFTC’s primary mission is to encourage transparent, open, financially sound and competitive markets. It aims to shield market users consumers, and their funds, as well as the public from manipulation, abusive practices and fraud in relation to derivatives and other related products that are subject to the rules and regulations stipulated by the Commodity Exchange Act. CFTC tries to accomplish its primary aim by doing its best to avoid systemic risk.
After the financial crisis that the US and the world have experienced in 2007 to 2008, the CFTC has been transforming its operations to bring stricter regulation and initiate better transparency to the $400 trillion swaps market. Since 2010, this agency has been implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to fulfill its stated mission.
The Responsibility Of The CFTC
The CFTC takes on several responsibilities in its mandate of regulating the country’s futures and commodities market. These responsibilities include the promotion of the integrity of the market. To perform this responsibility, the CFTC supervises and controls the derivatives market so that abuses can be minimize or totally prevented. A variety of organizations and individuals are being supervised by the CFTC as it performs its responsibilities. These include designated contract markets, swap dealers, derivatives clearing organizations, Commodity pool operators, futures commission merchants, swap execution facilities, and other groups and entities.
Why Is The CFTC Important?
The importance of the CFTC in the conduct of the U.S. economy lies in its stated mission and responsibilities. It is regulating an important financial sector of the country’s economy. The CFTC is essential to the way that businesses, financial institutions and investors in the U.S. are managing their risks. All the stakeholders in the U.S economy including manufacturers, municipalities, ranchers, producers, farmers, commercial enterprises and many more sectors of the U.S. society are using the markets to establish a rate or a price. This agency enables these stakeholders to focus on the things that they can do best such as creating jobs, generating services and goods, and innovating. The CFTC is working hard to enable market participants and other hedgers to utilize the market with confidence.