The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged an attorney and two others living in South Florida for their roles in a $27.5 million investment scheme that led investors to believe they were purchasing securities consisting of “pre-sold” commodities contracts with a pre-determined profit. However, the supposed profits actually distributed to investors were largely taken from other investors’ funds.
The SEC halted the scheme last year when it obtained an asset freeze and a court-appointed receiver over the companies involved: Commodities Online LLC and Commodities Online Management LLC. The SEC’s follow-up charges are against
“This trio teamed up to employ all the hallmarks of an investment scheme,” said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office. “Howard met with prospective investors at a luxury hotel to emanate a false sense of wealth and security, Gallo oversaw an in-house boiler room that drummed up investor interest, and Casey was the company’s purported legal counsel who acted anything but lawyerly.”
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida today announced criminal charges against Howard, Gallo, and Casey.