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Scheme Under Investigation: Tennessee Realtors Accused of $6 Million Digital Assets Commodity Pool

In this post:

  • Tennessee realtors Michael and Amanda Griffis face CFTC charges for operating a deceptive $6 million digital assets commodity pool scheme.
  • The defendants allegedly defrauded over 100 victims, misappropriated funds, and resorted to Ponzi-like tactics, leaving many investors with substantial financial losses.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has taken legal action against Michael and Amanda Griffis, a husband and wife realtor duo from Clarksville, Tennessee, for allegedly orchestrating a fraudulent commodity pool scheme involving digital assets. The CFTC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, accuses the defendants of defrauding over 100 individuals across the United States and failing to register with the CFTC during the operation of their multi-million dollar scheme between July 2022 and January 2023.

The Alleged Scheme and Deceptive Promises

The complaint alleges that Michael and Amanda Griffis, the owners of a real estate company in Clarksville, approached their colleagues and customers with an enticing offer. They invited these individuals to participate in a commodity pool called “Blessings of God Thru Crypto,” pooling funds to trade digital asset commodity futures contracts. Despite having no experience in trading or relevant expertise, the defendants managed to convince over 100 people to invest more than $6 million in their scheme.

The defendants made false promises to their pool participants, assuring them that their funds would be safe and under their control and that substantial profits were virtually guaranteed. They claimed to be trading “crypto futures” on the “Apex Trading Platform” under the guidance of a mysterious figure referred to as “Coach Wendy.” Exploiting the trust and relationships established through their real estate business, the defendants portrayed the scheme as legitimate, which allowed them to garner significant investments from unsuspecting victims.

Misappropriation and Ponzi-Like Payments

Instead of using the pooled funds as promised, the defendants swiftly transferred over $4 million to various digital wallets beyond their control, rendering these funds irretrievable. Approximately $1 million was allegedly misappropriated to settle the defendants’ personal debts and purchase luxury items such as expensive jewelry and an all-terrain vehicle. To prolong the scheme, the defendants resorted to a Ponzi-like tactic, using some of the remaining pool funds to make deceptive payments to earlier investors, in an attempt to maintain the illusion of profitability and attract more funds.

The consequences of the Griffis’ actions have left many victims in financial ruin, with the CFTC cautioning that recovering lost funds through legal orders might prove challenging if the defendants lack sufficient assets or funds.

CFTC’s Pursuit of Justice and Protection of Customers

The CFTC’s Division of Enforcement has been diligently investigating this case, and its staff members, including Elsie Robinson, Brett Shanks, Rachel Hayes, Christopher Reed, and Charles Marvine, have played key roles in bringing the complaint to light. Furthermore, the Division of Enforcement’s Romance Investment Fraud Task Force staff, comprising Jenny Chapin and Dmitriy Vilenskiy, have contributed their expertise to assist in this complex case.

The CFTC seeks not only to hold the defendants accountable but also to secure justice for the defrauded pool participants. They are pursuing restitution for the victims, imposing civil monetary penalties on the defendants, seeking permanent trading and registration bans, and pursuing a permanent injunction against further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged in the complaint.

Conclusion

The CFTC’s complaint against Michael and Amanda Griffis sheds light on the dangers of fraudulent commodity pool schemes involving digital assets. Their alleged actions have resulted in significant financial losses for over 100 individuals and serve as a stark reminder for investors to exercise caution and due diligence before participating in any investment opportunity. As the CFTC continues its efforts to protect customers and hold wrongdoers accountable, this case underscores the need for heightened awareness and regulation in the evolving world of digital assets trading.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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