CFTC Alleges ‘Blatant Effort To Intimidate’ Investors Ripped Off In $50 Million Fraud; Asset Freeze Granted In Case Originally Filed Under Seal; Alleged Bid To Chill Customers Reminiscent Of Actions Taken By Some ASD Members

UPDATED 12:21 P.M. ET (U.S.A.) In a case that outlines allegations of intimidation reminiscent of efforts undertaken by some members of AdSurfDaily to frighten investors, a Utah federal judge has frozen the assets of a Texas man and entered an order prohibiting the destruction of books and records.

Robert J. Andres and an unincorporated firm known as Winsome Investment Trust of Houston have been accused of conducting a $50.2 million commodity-pool solicitation fraud and Ponzi scheme. CFTC originally filed the case under seal last week, alleging that the scheme affected at least 243 investors.

“Recently, Andres personally contacted participants asking them to verify their investments purportedly as part of the process to return funds to participants,” the CFTC alleged. “In a blatant effort to intimidate, Andres is demanding that in order to obtain repayment, participants must acknowledge that they have not taken or assisted others in taking legal action against Winsome. If any participants indicate they have, the return of their funds would be ‘handled by an Attorney.'”

Some members of AdSurfDaily, a Florida firm accused of operating a Ponzi scheme involving tens of millions of dollars, have sought in recent months to intimidate members who contemplated filing remissions claims with the claims administrator approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

An email received by some ASD members included a purported “legal opinion” and implied that ASD members who filed for restitution may face legal action from a “group” of ASD members.

In the CFTC case, Andres also is accused of misappropriation and providing false statements to customers to cover up the fraud.

Also accused with misappropriation and proving false statements to customers were Robert L. Holloway of San Diego, and a company known as US Ventures LC (USV) of Salt Lake City.

Senior U.S. District Judge Bruce S. Jenkins has frozen the assets of all of the defendants in the case.

Read the CFTC complaint.

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