The CFTC announced it has filed charges against Invers Forex, LLC, and Invers’ sole principle, officer, and employee, Juvenal Eduardo Machado. The Miami-based firm allegedly defrauded investors of nearly $800,000 by operating a retail foreign exchange (“forex”) Ponzi scheme.
According to the CFTC, Machado began soliciting investments in December of 2008. He approached friends, family, and members of a prayer group that met in his house. The complaint says that at the prayer meetings, “Machado told prospective customers that God put him on earth to help people financially,” and told at least one investor that he had never lost money trading forex. Furthermore, he was said to guarantee potential investors 5% interest every month, and told them that an investment with him would set them up for life.
Once he had collected at least $786,000, the defendant and Invers Forex (of which he was the only employee) allegedly only opened one trading account. The account was under Machado’s name, and contained less than $135,000. According to the complaint, 90% of the money was lost in reckless forex trading. The balance of investors’ funds was used for personal and business expenses.
Instead of informing investors of their losses, Machado allegedly doctored IRS statements and sent monthly payments. He may have had assistance creating the false statements by an accountant who was also one of his customers. When, in the spring of 2010, customers asked to close their accounts and withdraw funds, they were told to wait 6 months, and Machado fled to Canada and never returned the funds. According to the complaint, Machado acted with “reckless disregard for the truth”—that as the sole employee of Invers Forex he is solely responsible for the fraud, and that he knowingly deceived customers.
The CFTC is seeking restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, and trading and registration bans. Neither Machado, Invers Forex, or any of their trading partners were ever registered with the CFTC.