CFTC charges Tin Quoc Tran as ringleader of $145 million FX Ponzi scheme

Rick Steves

The CFTC complaint alleges that a fraudulent scheme operated by Tin Quoc Tran from approximately April 2020 to the present directly accepted at least $144,043,883 from approximately 913 pool participants.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has filed charges against Marcus Todd Brisco and his company Yas Castellum, as well as Tin Quoc Tran, Francisco Story, Fredirick “Ted” Safranko, Michael Shannon Sims, and SAEG Capital General Management LP (SAEG) for an alleged FX ponzi scheme that began in April 2020.

According to the CFTC, the defendants were involved with three interconnected commodity pool scams that fraudulently solicited and misappropriated pool participant funds.

The regulator also claims that Story, Safranko, and SAEG lied to the National Futures Association (NFA) in order to conceal one or more of the scams.

Earlier this month, the CFTC was able to obtain a statutory restraining order from District Court Judge Lee Rosenthal, freezing their assets, and giving the CFTC immediate access to their books and records.

The CFTC complaint alleges that a fraudulent scheme operated by Tin Quoc Tran from approximately April 2020 to the present directly accepted at least $144,043,883 from approximately 913 pool participants.

The funds were intended for trading either forex or margined or leveraged gold-U.S. dollar pairs, but the defendant allegedly misappropriated some of the pool participant funds by using them to pay invoices, a loan, individuals not involved with the commodity pool, and to subsidize his unrelated businesses.

From October 2020 to May 2022, Marcus Todd Brisco and his Yas Castellum LLC attracted $470,780 from 43 investors to participate in its purported commodity pool, but the funds were instead transferred to entities controlled by Tin Quoc Tran.

His second entity, Yas Castellum Financial founded in mid-2022, obtained approximately $1,585,261 from at least 57 pool participants. These monies were also allegedly misappropriated.

The CFTC further alleges that defendants Story, Safranko, and SAEG knowingly submitted falsified bank statements to the NFA during an examination of SAEG in order to conceal Tran’s scheme from regulators.

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