The CFTC obtained more than $5.4 million in restitution and civil monetary penalties in a federal court default judgment order against Zurich Futures and Options Inc., a Belize-registered corporation, and Michele LaBruce, both of Hollywood, Fla. The order also permanently prohibits Zurich and LaBruce from engaging in certain commodity-related activity, including registering with the CFTC in any capacity and trading.
The order finds that defendants falsely claimed that Zurich was a member of the NFA and registered with the CFTC. The court also found that, through the Zurich website, solicitation materials, and the activities of their brokers, the defendants created a false impression that Zurich was a successful, well-established international investment banker with an experienced investment team and offices in Zurich, Switzerland and Toronto, Canada. In fact, Zurich was nothing more than a Hollywood, Fla.-based sham operation that maintained only “virtual offices” or “mail drop” offices in Zurich and Toronto through which the defendants re-routed customer calls and funneled mailings of solicitation materials and account opening documents.