Paper gold fight escalates: Las Vegas firm challenges CFTC power

Las Vegas-based Hunter Wise Commodities on Wednesday categorically denied allegations of fraud leveled against it by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, sticking to its argument that the CFTC lacks jurisdiction over its gold and metals investment business.

Hunter Wise, and two key principals, were named with 11 other companies as defendants in a federal civil court action brought by the CFTC earlier this month. The CFTC charged the companies with promising to sell physical gold, but instead selling paper gold and other metals. The commission also alleges that Hunter Wise provides phantom loans for purchases to investors.

The CFTC suit comes after Hunter Wise filed a suit of its own in Illinois asking the courts to rule on whether the CFTC lacks jurisdiction and has overstepped its authority in trying to regulate its business. In its complaint, Hunter Wise indicates that the metals it deals in are held by metal brokers. When asked directly where it keeps its gold a spokeswoman referred to this document. As far as the Mines can tell, the company is indicating the gold is held by teh dealers it works with in warehouses and can be delivered to customers once any debt for the purchase has been retired.

However, the CFTC filed a motion to dismiss that suit on Tuesday.

Here is Hunter Wise’s official statement.

On September 27, 2012, Hunter Wise Commodities, LLC initiated a litigation in the Federal Court System, the Northern District of Illinois, asking the court to determine that its business is typical for all like commercial practices and is compliant with all requirements of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), including amendments by the Dodd-Frank enactments of 2011. On December 5 2012, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under the CEA brought a like litigation in the Southern District of Florida seeking the opposite conclusion(s).

Hunter Wise Commodities categorically denies all accusations made against it by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The CFTC’s allegations are unfounded and misstate the nature of Hunter Wise’s business and its business relationship with other precious metals dealers.

“The allegations made by the CFTC are inaccurate. We’ve been cooperating with the Commission and we believe we have answered all of their questions,” said Ed Martin, President of Hunter Wise Commodities. “We absolutely stand behind the propriety of our business practices; we are absolutely confident the truth will emerge and that we expect to prevail.”

Despite strongly disagreeing with the CFTC’s argument that the Dodd-Frank Act gave the CFTC authority over the types of transactions in which it engages, Hunter Wise has cooperated with the CFTC in its inquiry, making available several of its employees and producing tens of thousands of documents.  Hunter Wise is confident in its position and has filed a complaint against the CFTC, alleging, in part, that the CFTC is over-reaching in its attempt to regulate Hunter Wise’s transactions with other dealers in the precious metals industry by mischaracterizing them as futures contracts or leveraged transactions.  Hunter Wise intends to vigorously pursue that action.

The CFTC complaint alleges two primary issues neither of which is accurate: First, that the process by which Hunter Wise sells precious metals was banned in July, 2011. Second, that Hunter Wise does not actually control physical precious metals. Both assertions are inaccurate and contrary to the law.

“We have complete confidence in our business model and practices and we expect that this unfortunate series of events will soon be over,” said Martin. “We will defend ourselves, we will defend our practices, we will defend our people and we expect we will – ultimately – prevail.”

Hunter Wise is a trusted leader in the precious metals investment field and has an established and unblemished track record of proper conduct. Hunter Wise is confident that they comply with all applicable laws and regulations and absolutely contends that no fraud has been committed. Hunter Wise believes it will succeed against the CFTC’s unsupported allegations.

Rob Varnon