CFTC reaches partial settlement with 63-year-old commodity futures trader

Maria Nikolova

William H. Powderly IV, who lost $1 million of investors’ money, agrees to the payment of restitution and to the entry of an order of permanent injunction.

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has reached a partial settlement with William H. Powderly IV, a self-proclaimed commodity futures trader who lost more than $1 million of investors’ money before the scheme he operated collapsed.

Let’s recall that, in May 2017, the CFTC filed an enforcement action against Powderly, a citizen of New Hope, Pennsylvania, charging him with fraudulently soliciting money for purposes of trading commodity futures on their behalf in an account in Powderly’s name. The Complaint also charges Powderly with making and providing false and misleading account statements to his customers.

In particular, the Complaint alleges that from at least January 2016 through October 2016, Powderly solicited customers and prospective customers by claiming that he and a university professor had developed a commodity futures trading program that generated exceptional hypothetical trading results and that “beta” testing of this system generated consistent gains without a single day of loss. The Complaint further alleges that when soliciting customers and prospective customers, Powderly failed to tell them that the actual commodity trading he conducted for his commodity account during that 10-month period was consistently unprofitable, sustaining losses every month during that time. Additionally, the Complaint alleges that Powderly created false account statements for his trading account and sent them to his customers in order to conceal his trading losses.

According to the Complaint, Powderly, 63 years old, accepted approximately $1,278,000 from seven customers and subsequently concealed that he had incurred losses of $1 million while he reported he was generating profits.

On Thursday, August 30, 2018, the CFTC informed the Illinois Northern District Court that a partial settlement has been reached in the case. To effect he partial settlement, the defendant agrees to the entry of a Consent Order of Permanent Injunction. The proposed order permanently prohibits the defendant from (inter alia):

  • cheating or defrauding, or attempting to cheat and defraud, other persons;
  • using or employing any manipulative device or contrivance to defraud;
  • entering into transactions involving commodity interests;
  • having any commodity interests traded on his behalf;
  • soliciting, receiving or accepting funds from any person for the purchasing or selling commodity interests;
  • applying for registration or claiming exemption from registration with the Commission in any capacity;
  • acting as a principal, agent or employee of any person registered, exempted from registration or required to be registered with the Commission.

The defendant shall pay restitution in the amount of $1,069,300, whereas the size of the civil monetary penalty has yet to be determined.

The case is captioned US Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Powderly IV (1:17-cv-03262).

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