A commodity options company that has been battling in and out of court with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for the past 18 months has filed a $26 million slander and harrassment suit against eight agency members.
The conflict centers on the company's high-pressure and allegedly fraudulent selling tactics.
Lloyd, Carr & Co., a Stamford, Connbased firm with its main office in Boston, filed the suit in U.S. District Court here earlier this week against three CFTC staff attorneys and its five commissioners. It was the latest move in Lloyd Carr's offensive to stave off the agency's protracted attempts to put the company out of business.
The suit also asks the court to bar the agency from "counting and the agency from "continuing and threatened interference" in its operations and to halt a CFTC proceeding to enforce an administrative cease and desist order against the company pending Lloyd Carr's appeal of the order.
James A. Carr, president of the company, said "These illegal acts of the commission reach far beyond the scope of its statutory authority and the constraints of even-harded dispensation os regulatory force." He called the agency's proceeding against the firm "a private vendetta."
The CFTC has refused to register the company as a "futures commission merchant," the commodity sector equivalent of a securities broker-dealer. This ruling, which federal attorneys say should bar Lloyd Carr from any operations in this country, has had no effect on its operations.
Last week, a federal court judge in Michigan granted a CFTC request for a temporary halt to Lloyd Carr's allegedly deceptive and fraudulent sales pending a hearing Nov. 22 on a permanent injunction. The Michigan order also permitted CFTC auditors access to the company's books and sales records to determine if the company is complying with the agency's regulations. The injunctions has not halted the company's sales, however.
A Supreme Court ruling also issued last week requiring commodity options firms to comply with the CFTC's segregation-of funds regulation could end the company's operation, sources said. This requires that 90 per cent of all customers' funds in London options contracts be placed in an escrow account in the U.S.