Florida Federal Court Orders Claudio Aliaga and His Company, CMA Capital Management, LLC, to Pay $5.5 Million in Penalties and Restitution for Operating a Forex Ponzi Scheme

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently announced that it obtained a judgment for $5.5 million in restitution and civil monetary penalties against Claudio Aliaga and CMA Capital Management, LLC (CMA), of Miami Lakes, Florida, to settle an action charging defendants with operating a Ponzi scheme involving the fraudulent solicitation of at least $4.5 million from at least 125 individuals to invest in foreign currency (forex) managed accounts and/or a pooled investment.

On September 26, 2012, Judge Marcia G. Cooke of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered a consent order of permanent injunction against defendants. Specifically, the order requires the defendants to jointly pay restitution of $1.1 million, Aliaga to pay a civil monetary penalty of $3.3 million, and CMA to pay a civil monetary penalty of $1.1 million. The order also imposes permanent trading and registration bans against the defendants.

The order finds that from at least March 2007 through April 6, 2010, the defendants fraudulently solicited and received at least $4.5 million from retail customers and that only approximately $1.9 million in customer funds was transferred into forex trading accounts; that Aliaga’s trading resulted in overall losses of approximately $673,000; that Aliaga misappropriated customer funds for the benefit of himself, his wife, and another related business entity; and that to conceal the fraud, Aliaga issued false account statements to customers reflecting the promised returns based on his purportedly successful trading of foreign currency contracts.