U.S. derivatives markets regulator the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has issued an order filing and settling charges against Glenn Olson formerly of Brooklyn, New York, for his role in a binary options fraud that harmed U.S. customers involving Blue Bit Banc, a United Kingdom company, and Blue Bit Analytics, located offshore in Turks and Caicos.
The order requires Olson to disgorge all of his ill-gotten gains, totaling $241,070. He is also ordered to pay restitution of $846,405, a joint obligation with others found liable and enjoined by a federal court in a prior CFTC enforcement action. Olson is also ordered to cease and desist from further violating the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, from trading on or subject to the rules of any CFTC-registered entity, and from engaging in any activities requiring registration with the CFTC.
The order finds—and Olson admitted—that from approximately April 2014 through March 2018, he was affiliated with Blue Bit Banc and related entities, selling binary options to customers for Blue Bit using alias names and also supervising other sales staff at Blue Bit’s Manhattan office. Olson also admitted that, as part of the scheme, he and others misrepresented the profitability of trading through Blue Bit, manipulated or fabricated purported trades in their customers’ accounts to the customers’ disadvantage, prevented customers from withdrawing funds, and misappropriated customer funds.
The order states that Olson also admitted he knowingly made false statements, omitted statements of material fact, and took other actions to defraud customers, while receiving disbursements totaling $241,070.30. In addition, Olson was involved in the conversion of some customers’ Blue Bit account holdings into ATM Coin, a worthless cryptocurrency that was represented as being worth substantial money. According to the order, at least 27 customers lost a total of $846,405 as a result of the fraudulent scheme.
The CFTC cautions victims that restitution orders may not result in the recovery of money lost, because wrongdoers may not have sufficient funds or assets. The CFTC said it will continue to fight vigorously for the protection of customers and to ensure the wrongdoers are held accountable.