gavel enforcement regulators

More than US$1 billion has been returned to victims of a massive Ponzi scheme, U.S. regulators said.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that a court-appointed receiver made its final distribution to victims of a purported Ponzi scheme that involved a commodity pool operated by Paul Greenwood and Stephen Walsh.

Greenwood and Walsh both pled guilty to criminal violations, and served approximately five years and four years in federal prison, respectively. They were also banned by the CFTC and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in civil proceedings brought by the regulators.

The CFTC, which brought its case against them in 2009, alleged that the two men operated a Ponzi scheme that misappropriated at least US$553 million from commodity pool participants.

The ultimate distributions to investors amounted to 100% of approved claims, regulators said.

“The receiver was able to responsibly marshal the assets that were frozen, and to recover significant additional assets. In the end, these funds were enough to make the victims whole,” said CFTC enforcement director James McDonald.