Washington, D.C. — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and settling an enforcement action against Southwest Group, LLC of Fort Myers, Florida for acting as an unregistered retail foreign exchange dealer. The order requires Southwest Group to cease and desist from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, as charged, and to pay a civil monetary penalty of $75,000.
The order finds that from April 2018 through September 2018, Southwest Group, through its website, offered transactions in off-exchange foreign currency (forex) on a financed basis to retail customers located throughout the United States who were ineligible contract participants. These retail forex transactions involved Vietnamese Dong or Iraqi Dinar.
According to the order, Southwest Group offered customers forex transactions by utilizing a “Premium + Layaway Program” financing option. This “program” was financed by Southwest Group while acting as the counterparty to these retail forex transactions. Instead of retail customers receiving their forex within two days of the transactions, it took 30 or 45 days.
The CFTC strongly urges the public to verify a company’s registration with the CFTC before committing funds. If unregistered, a customer should be wary of providing funds to that company. A company’s registration status can be found using NFA BASIC.
The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Timothy J. Mulreany, Kassra Goudarzi, Paul G. Hayeck, and George Malas.