CFTC Sues Alleged Commodity Hedge Fund Fraudster

Mar 31 2010 | 2:33am ET

While a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy, Enrique Villalba was subject to a strict honor code. According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, he left that honor code at West Point.

The regulator has alleged that Villalba’s commodity futures hedge fund, Money Market Alternative, was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. In a complaint filed this week, the CFTC accuses Villalba of defrauding investors of $37.5 million from at least 1996 through November.

Villalba misappropriated some at least $10 million of that money, according to the complaint, using more than $7 million to make Ponzi-style payments to investors and at least $3 million to finance his coffee business, buy real estate and on other expenses. Of the $23.2 million he did invest, he lost $17 million, according to the CFTC.

To hide those massive losses, Villalba allegedly told clients the fund was consistently making money, in at least one case using phony commission merchant statements to show off his profitable trades.

The CFTC is seeking restitution, disgorgement and penalties against Villalba and Ohio-based MMA.

In Depth

Related-Company Fees: Normal Industry Practice or Conflicted Compensation?

Nov 11 2015 | 4:23pm ET

Regulatory agencies as well as investors are increasingly exploring whether certain...


Ferrari Roars in Wall Street Debut

Oct 21 2015 | 4:28pm ET

Shares of supercar maker Ferrari jumped as much as 15 percent to a high of nearly...

Guest Contributor

Private Debt - What is the Opportunity?

Nov 11 2015 | 3:28pm ET

In this contributed article, Rob Allard, founding partner of Firebreak Capital...


Editor's Note

    Oct 21 2015 | 10:41am ET

    One of the most unique charity benefits in the hedge fund industry, A Leg To Stand On's (ALTSO's) Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest - NYC, raised nearly $500,000 last Thursday thanks to the generous support of major sponsors and nearly 1,400 attendees from the Tri-State finance, business and hedge fund communities. Read more…