In an affidavit filed to obtain a search warrant, FBI agents and an attorney with the Justice Department Strike Force on Organized Crime and Racketeering claim that a Colorado man operated a major commodities future trading fraud, bilking wealthy investors out of millions of dollars.
In papers filed in federal court in Denver earlier this week, FBI agent Alfred W. Scuderi alleged that Thomas D. Chillcott, who managed a commodity investment pool called Chillcott Portfolio Management Inc., misled investors by -- among other things -- falsely claiming to have never had a losing month in more than three years and by claiming to double investors' money or better.
In fact, according to the affidavit, Chillcott was losing money on commodities investments and diverting investors' money into his own, unrelated investments. In addition, Scuderi said, Chillcott failed to file legally required documents with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and told investors there was more than $60 million on deposit with the pool, when the true figure was less than $7 million.
As outlined in the affidavit, the alleged scheme is remarkably similar to another alleged fraud uncovered by the same investigators in Miami. Like the Denver operation, the Miami operation, run by Dennis Greenman of Barclay Financial Corp., is said to have used an aura of exclusivity and the false promise of exceptional returns to lure wealthy investors.
The Securities and Exchange Commission sought and received a court order shutting down the Miami operation, appointing a receiver and imposing a trust on its assets after the FBI discovered it. The FBI investigators, Scuderi and Ron Jordan, and Justice Department attorney Chris Hoyer, working as a group investigating white collar crime, stumbled across Greenman's operations as they were investigating financial records of Tampa, Fla., land developer Allen Wolfson.
Wolfson had also invested in the Colorado commodities futures pool run by Chillcott, according to the affidavit.
Among other things, the affidavit claims that Chillcott and a business associate told would-be investors and bankers that Chillcott had come into possession of valuable silver futures contracts as a result of an error by a brokerage firm.
According to investors and bankers quoted in the affidavit, Chillcott claimed that he had placed an order with Shearson Loeb Rhodes' Denver office for 25 silver futures contracts shortly before the value of those contracts increased dramatically. They also said that it had been represented to them that the brokerage firm erroneously ordered 250 of the contracts, which represented a bonanza for Chillcott.
The affidavit said that Chillcott and others had solicited investments and loans to allow him to pay for those contracts, which the affidavit indicated never existed.