SEC secures assets freezes over suspected forex fraud

28 May 2009

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has secured an emergency court order freezing the assets of a Texas A&M finance professor, a Houston-based lawyer and certified public account and two firms over a suspected foreign exchange investment fraud.

In a statement, the regulator said Robert D Watson and Daniel J Petroski have been charged with defrauding investors by using forged bank records to give the impression that they were making "spectacular returns" on forex trading.

The pair are alleged to have raised more than $19 million since July 2006 from clients who were told they would earn profits through foreign currency trading program called Alpha One, which was purportedly owned by their firm, PrivateFX Global One.

Investors were also told the pair would use a so-called "deal clearing company" owned and controlled by Mr Watson called 36 Holdings.

The SEC's complaint contests that Mr Watson and Petroski claimed to have made annual returns of over 23 per cent and had never had a losing month since the inception of Alpha One.

The claims were not supported by valid financial records, the regulator added.

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