Gregory Bryant duped FX investors out of $426,000, CFTC says
A Hawaii resident has been formally charged for his role in what the regulators describe as an investment fraud scheme that successfully brought in $426,000 from 35 unsuspecting investors by falsely promising them big returns.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission socked Gregory Demetrius Bryant, the owner of a nonexistent company called “Surrey Libor Capital, LLC, with a suit in a federal court.
The CFTC said Bryant, who was a convicted criminal with a history of financial problems, including three bankruptcies, conned his victims and then used their money to pay back other customers, cover expenses and invest in other businesses.
To create the illusion of stability and appearance of a legitimate company, Bryant rented office space to meet his potential victims. He also failed to register with the CFTC as required, and fraudulently sought participants by touting himself out as an NFA- approved trader and also lying about his investment track record.
According to the complaint, potential investors were given false account histories showing trading returns that did not exist, and provided false information about executives’ experience and expertise in trading.
While it was actually a Ponzi scheme, Bryant claimed that these funds would participate in various FX trading pools that would be managed by licensed traders. Promotional materials for investors promised risk-free returns of between 60 to 80 percent per month.
Out of the $426,000 figure, he misappropriated more than $356,000 for personal spending on exotic vacations, shopping, personal travel, and living expenses.
As the CFTC documents relating to this case show, Bryant used $66,000 of new investors’ funds to pay back other investors in a Ponzi-like fashion, so that they would invest or refer additional money, thereby allowing the scheme to continue for a longer period of time.
“Bryant further concealed his fraud and misappropriation of pool participants’ funds by falsely telling them their accounts were “in great shape,” to expect returns or disbursements soon, and/or that his business was being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” the regulator further explains.
The fraud charge that the defendant faces carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Aside from the restitution and the civil monetary penalties, the CFTC seeks a permanent injunction and permanently bans Bryant from registration and trading.