A lawsuit questioning the enforcement authority of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has petered out after being denied the chance to be heard at the highest level of the judicial branch.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in the case of Monex Deposit Company v. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In the lawsuit, Monex Deposit Company challenged the CFTC’s authority to bring enforcement cases against alleged fraud, specifically examining whether the Commodity Exchange Act’s “prohibition against manipulation” can empower the CFTC to punish conduct that does not manipulate any commodities market, simply because the conduct involves a retail transaction in a commodity.
Monex Deposit Company’s argument was rejected by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year, a decision now final given the Supreme Court’s determination. “This should put to rest any question of the CFTC’s authority to redress fraud in commodity markets,” said Robert A. Schwartz, the CFTC’s deputy general counsel for litigation, in a press release.
The lawsuit emerged in opposition to a CFTC enforcement action brought against Monex Deposit Company and two of its affiliates in September 2017 charging the company with “defrauding thousands of retail customers nationwide out of hundreds of millions of dollars, while executing thousands of illegal, off-exchange leveraged commodity transactions.” The CFTC alleged Monex’s misconduct resulted in more than $290 million in customer losses on precious metal trades between July 16, 2011, and March 31, 2017.
In the case, which is ongoing, the CFTC is seeking disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, restitution for the benefit of defrauded customers, civil monetary penalties, permanent registration and trading bans, and a permanent injunction from future violations of federal commodities laws, as charged.
The Supreme Court’s pass on the lawsuit comes the same week the judicial body handed down its decision in a case challenging the authority of another regulator in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The Supreme Court ruled the CFPB’s single-director leadership structure unconstitutional, though the agency will be allowed to continue to operate.