CFTC brings charges against participants in $165m international binary options scam

Maria Nikolova

The fraudulent scheme operated via the BeeOptions, Glenridge Capital, and Rumelia Capital binary option brands.

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced the filing of a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas charging six individuals and four companies with operating a fraudulent binary options trading scheme that received over $165 million from victims.

The complaint charges that from at least May 1, 2013 through April 29, 2018, three Canadian brothers—defendants David Cartu, Jonathan Cartu, and Joshua Cartu—marketed, offered, and sold illegal, off-exchange binary options to retail customers on websites under the BeeOptions, Glenridge Capital, and Rumelia Capital binary option brands.

The Cartu brothers, along with a pair of Canadian brothers living in Israel – defendants Leeav Peretz and Nati Peretz – operated call centers primarily located in Israel that targeted and victimized US residents by promising “quick” returns of “between 60-85%” by trading binary options. The complaint further alleges that, at the direction of the Cartu and Peretz brothers, the individual brokers soliciting U.S. customers falsely represented their financial expertise, compensation structure, physical location, and identity. These brokers also falsely claimed that the offered binary option transactions were profitable, when the majority of customers lost money.

Also charged in the alleged fraud is Ryan Masten of Austin, Texas, and his company BareIt Media LLC d/b/a SignalPush, a Texas entity, as well as All Out Marketing Limited, Blue Moon Investments, Ltd., and Orlando Union Inc., each an offshore entity owned and controlled by one of the Cartu brothers.

As alleged in the complaint, customers of the Cartu brands, and later customers of other binary options brands operated by third-parties, accessed the Cartu platform through each individual binary brand’s website. The complaint charges that the Cartu brothers and Masten, acting through the defendant entities, controlled these transactions and manipulated the results of some trades to force customer losses and generate profits for themselves.

As alleged in the complaint, the Cartu brothers also operated Greymountain Management Limited, a now-defunct “payment processor” that maintained its principal place of business in Ireland. The Cartu brothers used Greymountain to facilitate the transfer of funds from customers in the U.S. and elsewhere for illegal, off-exchange binary option transactions. Through Greymountain and other related entities, the Cartu brothers processed over $165 million in credit card payments for binary option transactions. The complaint further alleges that Masten and SignalPush provided trade signals and auto-trader services to customers, and failed to register with the CFTC as required.

In its continuing litigation against the defendants, the CFTC seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, restitution for the benefit of customers, permanent registration and trading bans, and a permanent injunction from future violations of the Commodity Exchange Act as charged.

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