CFTC sues California gold dealer Monex in fraud scheme

WASHINGTON, Sept 6 (Reuters) - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Wednesday it filed a civil lawsuit against California-based gold dealer Monex Deposit Co in what it called the biggest-ever retail precious metals fraud enforcement action brought by the regulator.

The CFTC alleges Monex, deploying high-pressure sales tactics, deceived thousands of retail customers who lost a total of $290 million in connection with illegal, off-exchange leveraged precious metals transactions.

According to the complaint, between July 16, 2011 and March 31, 2017, Monex defrauded over 12,000 trading accounts, many of which were owned by elderly customers, through outsized price spreads on trades, commissions, interest on loans and administrative fees.

The CFTC filed a civil injunctive enforcement action in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. (Reporting by Michelle Price; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)