CFTC and Kevin Scott Antonovich agree to settle binary options fraud charges

Maria Nikolova

Antonovich will have to pay a civil monetary penalty of $284,043, as well as restitution of $270,332.

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Tuesday filed a proposed order settling charges against Kevin Scott Antonovich of Woodside, New York.

The document, submitted to the New York Eastern District Court, outlines the terms of a settlement with Antonovich, who was charged with misappropriation of customer funds and fraudulent solicitation in connection with investments in a commodity pool, as well as with registration violations.

To effect settlement of all charges in the Complaint, the defendant agrees to the entry of Consent Order.

The proposed order includes a permanent injunction, as well as monetary penalties. Thus, Antonovich will have to pay a civil monetary penalty of $284,043, as well as restitution of $270,332.

In approximately mid-2015, Antonovich and a number of associates he met through trading chatrooms formed Bull and Bear IT Traders (BBITT) as an online business. The original purpose of BBITT was to provide trading signals and advice. In or around September 2015, Antonovich started soliciting investments in a “group account”. He told pool participants he would be trading binary options on currencies on CFTC-approved Cantor Exchange. But, in fact, Antonovich transferred pool participant funds to three different offshore binary option trading accounts at various unregistered trading platforms.

As alleged in the CFTC Complaint, from September 2015 through August 2016, Antonovich fraudulently solicited and received approximately $284,000 from at least 154 pool participants in connection with pooled investments in off-exchange binary options. As further alleged, Antonovich misappropriated approximately $124,000 of pool participant funds for business expenses and his personal use, made false and misleading representations to pool participants, and fabricated documents purporting to show funds available for return to pool participants.

Antonovich issued numerous updates to pool participants falsely claiming that his trading for the pool was profitable. In addition, when pool participants sought payouts from the pool, Antonovich falsely claimed that funds were available to be paid out and fabricated trading account and bank documents to give pool participants the false impression that funds were available to satisfy not only return of principal funds, but also payment of purported profits.

The case is captioned Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Antonovich (1:18-cv-02383).

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