Hurricane Irma delays progress of CFTC case against binary options fraudsters

Maria Nikolova

As Hurricane Irma is set to hit Florida, courts are closed and the Receiver in the case needs more time to complete the necessary work.

Hurricane Irma heads towards Florida, with the work of local institutions heavily affected. The storm has also had a negative effect on the progress of a case launched by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) against binary options fraudsters. The case, captioned Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Scharf et al (3:17-cv-00774) is making its way via the Florida Middle District Court. The process was hampered due to the latest weather forecast, and the Judge assigned to the case was forced to grant extension of time for certain procedures.

Florida courts and schools remain closed, and the uncertainty throughout South Florida as to whether there will be power over the weekend remains. Due to these factors, the work of Kenneth Dante Murena who is the Receiver in this case, was also hampered. The Court has granted him an extension of one week to file his initial status report. This report is set to include a summary of his efforts to marshal and collect assets, and administer the Receivership Estate.

The defendants in the case include: Jason B. Scharf (doing business as Citrades.com and AutoTradingBinary.com), CIT Investments LLC, Brevspand EOOD, CIT Investments Ltd., A & J Media Partners, Michael Shah, and Zilmil, Inc. According to the CFTC, the defendants have solicited more than $16 million due to illegal offering of binary options contracts.

The binary options firms made promises of artificially high returns, bonuses and happy life. Once the customers invested money, any communication with them was usually halted.

Early in August, the CFTC managed to get a court order for preliminary injunction against the defendants. This prevents them from, inter alia, offering to enter into or otherwise conducting activities relating to binary options, acting as an affiliate marketer in any capacity that involves binary options or any commodity interest, and offering of so-called autotrading systems or services that purport to trade binary options or any commodity interest.

Defendants Jason Scharf doing business as Citrades.com and AutoTradingBinary.com, as well as A&J Media Partners Inc, have denied the allegations made by the CFTC.

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