SEC charges SpotFN owner with engaging in unregistered offer of binary options

Maria Nikolova

Mark Suleymanov, who established SpotFN, as well as BinaryAcademics, AssetSignals, BinaryFN, and OptionsMogul, is accused of defrauding investors out of about $4 million.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that it has filed charges against Mark Suleymanov of Glen Cove, New York over his engagement in an online binary options scheme that defrauded retail investors out of about $4 million.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that from at least 2012 to 2016, Suleymanov engaged in the unregistered offer and sale of binary options. Suleymanov established the SpotFN.com website, as well as related websites such as BinaryAcademics.com, AssetSignals.com, BinaryFN.com, and OptionsMogul.com, among others.

Suleymanov is alleged to have promoted and sold the options on the SpotFN website and other related websites he controlled, and misrepresented the profitability of investing in the binary options, as well as investors’ ability to access their funds. Suleymanov allegedly used software to manipulate investors’ trading results to increase investor losses, and prevented many investors from withdrawing their funds.

As further alleged in the SEC’s complaint, the SpotFN website also falsely stated that an investor’s funds would be held in a separate account and used only for trading options, not for SpotFN’s business expenses. In reality, Suleymanov commingled investor funds in his bank accounts and misused certain of the funds for business and personal expenses.

The SEC’s complaint charges Suleymanov with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, as well as the registration provisions of Section 5 of the Securities Act.

The regulator seeks a permanent injunction, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, as well as a penalty. Suleymanov has agreed to a bifurcated settlement where he will be permanently enjoined from these provisions. The settlement, which is subject to Court approval, reserves the issues of disgorgement, prejudgment interest and a civil penalty for further determination by the court upon motion of the SEC.

This marks yet another action by the US authorities against binary options scammers. Other notable examples in this respect include the criminal proceedings against Lee Elbaz, the ex-CEO of Israel-based Yukom Communications, as well as the case against Yehuda Belsky, the head of Y Trading.

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