The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it obtained an Order requiring Defendants Eric N. Schmickle, of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and his company, Q Wealth Management Inc., to pay approximately $3.6 million of restitution and jointly to pay a $1.5 million civil monetary penalty in connection with operating a commodity futures Ponzi scheme (see CFTC Press Release 6362-12, September 26, 2012).
The Consent Order for Permanent Injunction, entered on April 19, 2013, by Judge Rudolph T. Randa of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, also imposes permanent trading and registration bans against the Defendants and prohibits them from violating the Commodity Exchange Act and a CFTC Regulation, as charged.
The Order finds that, from May 2009 through approximately April 2012, Schmickle operated a fraudulent commodity futures scheme through two entities: Q Wealth Management Inc., a Commodity Trading Advisor, and Aquinas SF LLC, a Commodity Pool Operator. Through these entities, Schmickle solicited approximately $5.2 million from one managed client and ten pool participants. Of those customer funds, Schmickle lost more than $2.9 million in trading and fees and misappropriated approximately $647,000 for his own personal benefit.
The Order further finds that to perpetrate the fraud, Schmickle fabricated and issued false account statements and tax forms that showed fake investment gains, instead of the actual losses. In addition, Schmickle sent invoices to the managed client, charging that client for commission on fake investment gains, according to the Order.
In a related criminal proceeding, on August 31, 2012, Schmickle pleaded guilty to wire fraud, and on February 26, 2013, Judge Randa sentenced him to 36 months in prison (see United States v. Schmickle, No. 12-cr-149 (E.D. Wis. Mar. 12, 2013)).
The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (Eastern District of Wisconsin) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Milwaukee Division).
The CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are David Chu, Mary Beth Spear, Ava Gould, Scott Williamson, Rosemary Hollinger, and Richard Wagner.