The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged two men behind a phony day-trading firm with pocketing more than $1.4 million in deposits from hundreds of defrauded investors worldwide.
The SEC alleges that Naris Chamroonrat of Bangkok, Thailand, recruited Adam L. Plumer of Las Vegas to help him lure investors to day-trade through an unregistered brokerage firm called Nonko Trading with promises of generous leverage, low trading commissions, and low minimum deposit requirements. According to the SEC’s complaint, rather than using a live securities trading platform, Nonko Trading provided certain investors with training accounts that merely simulated the placement and execution of trade orders. So when these investors sent funds to Nonko Trading and proceeded to place trade orders, they were never actually routed to the markets. The SEC alleges that investor money was instead used to fund Chamroonrat’s personal expenses, pay Plumer and other associates, and make Ponzi-like payments to investors who asked to close their accounts.
According to the SEC’s complaint, the scheme deliberately targeted investors who were inexperienced and more likely to place unprofitable trades, making them less likely to ask to withdraw funds from their accounts.
“As alleged in our complaint, Chamroonrat defrauded investors in more than 30 countries by using a trading simulator to deceive them into believing they were involved in legitimate securities trading rather than victims of a $1.4 million fraud,” said Joseph G. Sansone, Co-Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey today announced criminal charges against Chamroonrat.
The SEC’s complaint charges Chamroonrat and Plumer with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 10(b), 15(a)(1) and 20(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. The SEC is seeking injunctions and the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties.
The SEC’s continuing investigation is being conducted by Simona Suh, Barry O’Connell, and John Marino of the Market Abuse Unit and Elzbieta Wraga of the New York Regional Office. The case has been supervised by Mr. Sansone. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Ms. Suh and Mr. O’Connell. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Securities Commission of The Bahamas, Financial Supervisory Commission of the Cook Islands, Israel Securities Authority, Financial Services Commission’s Nevis Branch, Ontario Securities Commission, Monetary Authority of Singapore, and Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand.