Maryland residents were warned this week about the high-pressure telephone sales tactics of a company selling London Commodity options.
Acting Securities Division director Dickee Howard Goodman and Attorney General Francis B.Burch released a statement concerning the activities of Lloyd, Carr & Co., a Stamford, Conn., company, simply "to warn the public," Goodman said.
The company is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a federal agency which has both administrative and court proceedings pending against the firm in an attempt to halt its sales operations.
Goodman said that the CFTC has exclusive jurisdiction over the company's activities, she is unable to issue a cease-and-desist order or take other action.
"We have had several complaints about the persistence of the sales people," she said. She said one complainant said a sales person "refused to take 'no' for an answer and called every hour on the hour" in an attempt to close a sale.
London commodity options are contracts on the right to buy or sell futures contracts traded in London at a future date. The underlying commodities involved are precious metals such as gold, silver or copper, and tropical products such as sugar, coffee or cocoa.
The CFTC has attempted to halt the firm's activities since 1975. On Aug. 1, the agency denied Lloyd Carr's application for registration as a futures commission merchant, without which it cannot operate legally.
The company has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. A court action brought by the CFTC in Boston, the site of Lloyd Carr's main office, has been delayed pending resolution of the New York litigation, CFTC enforcement director William Schief said yesterday.
Schief added, however, that in light of the Maryland complaints, the CFTC has brought another administrative proceeding against the company. "That could result in a penalty for each and every sale made since we denied their registration," he said. The agency also is considering asking the Boston federal court to bar Lloyd Carr from further sales until the New York case is decided.
The CFTC expects a ruling from the New York appeals court by the end of the year, Schief said.