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Like many of us this holiday has special significance for me. I was a young law graduate working for Senator Herman Talmadge. I had graduated from law school, passed the bar and done my basic training as a member of the D.C. National Guard. I went to work as a young legislative assistant for Senator Talmadge.

I was happy to attend a Democratic Fundraiser when Senator Hubert Humphrey was the prime speaker. As the event began, we were shocked to hear that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot. Senator Humphrey got up to relay the news to the crowd and call the event off.

There had already been racial unrest in some of the nation’s cities. I stood around for a while to listen to Humphrey talking with the press and then went home and answer the phone call I knew would come. I took off my rented tuxedo and put on my Army fatigues.

The riots did come, and I was on active duty for what seemed like forever. I was stationed in a fire house in what was known as the U Street Corridor. As the firemen were called to put out the many fires that were set, our job was to ride with them to put out the fires. We did not use bullets, just heavy doses tear gas. One of our guys would use a tear gas pump that blanketed the street.

The liquor stores fared especially bad. They were ransacked. As we were leaving the National Guard Armory, a nicely dressed black man begged us to help him. He said, help me, these boys are burning down my store”. We had to go to turn him down to go to our destination, but I will never forget that guy’s face.

When this unfortunate experience in my life was over, I would go to Atlanta to run Senator Talmadge’s Atlanta office. I got to know and admire Martin Luther King Senior. He and I would see each a community meetings. Unlike his son, who was cut down in his prime, he lived to the ripe old age of 82. Among the many stories was that of a friend at the Atlanta Farmers Market. Reverend King would bargain hard on the price of chicken saying “I have got to get a good price, so I can feed my flock”.

Michael R. McLeod

On December 14, I received a letter from Laura Riso, Victim Specialist of the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Her fax number is 212-384-8289. I foolishly did not respond because I was told by the law firm representing me that everything should go through them.

I recently concluded that this law firm was only looking out for themselves and focused on the 35 percent  fee they would earn. Therefore, I terminated my relationship with them. Obviously, it is better to have the top Federal law enforcement agents on your side. There are a number of lawyers advertising on the internet to represent you.

This case is the worst financial scandal since Bernie Madoff scandal of a decade ago.  Madoff is currently serving a 145 year sentence in a federal prison. The main difference is that his crime was regulated by the Securities and Exchange CommIssion while this crime was under the jurisdiction of  the Commodity Futures Trading CommIssion.

This difference probably explains the arrogance of the clearing firm of OptionSellers. It is INT FCStone, a publicly traded company with total market capitalization of well over $700,000,000. The price of their stock can be checked at any time.

When this clearing firm had liquidated the holdings of OptionSellers it billed the innocent investors for the losses. At first I was told that I owed them over a million dollars for their losses. Eventually they scaled down their demands and agreed to pay me about fifteen percent of what I had invested. At that point I had to accept it. However, I did not have to sign a document releasing them from any liability.

The highly paid  officers of this clearing firm are free to continue business as usual. I have hopes that the victims like me will win in the court of public opinion. It helps that we have  the support of the nation’s top law enforcement agency on our side.

Michael R. McLeod

Calling your Senator and Member of Congress is the most effective way to ask for help for you and other victims of the worst financial scandal since Bernie Madoff. If either of them are members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees it is even better. They are the Committees that have jurisdiction over the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Madoff’s scandal was regulated  by the Securities And Exchange CommIssion. You can google both committees to find whether they are on these committees.

This is how to call your members of Congress offices directly or through the switchboard. If you do not have the direct number, you can reach US representatives by calling 202-225-3121, and US senators by calling 202-224-3121. Ask the operator to connect you to the individual office.

Michael R. McLeod

Why I began this GoFundMe Drive

When I was the young general counsel of the Senate Agriculture Committee I drafted the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974. I did so with the help of Doctor Richard Sandor,  the young economist of the Chicago  Board of Trade. I certainly would not have had sufficient expertise without him.

When I left the Senate in 1978 to go into private practice, my first client was the Chicago Board of Trade. It remained my client until It was
acquired by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in 2007.

The thing that made the system work was the requirement that all trades go through a clearing member . Leslie Rosenthal was the Chairman of the CBOT Clearing Corporation.

I did pro bono work after the Great Recession of 2008 as a member of The Coalition for Futures Reform. This effort was to seek remedies for the economic meltdown rather than seek to find fraudulent activity of any individual trader. It resulted in the enactment of the legislation known as Dodd-Frank.

Over the years, a complete body of law and regulation has developed. There were some little incidents when traders tried tried to get around the law and paid the price. However, there were never any major scandals until now. A few months ago a major scandal erupted involving OptionSellers.com, a solely owned hedge fund of James Cordier.

There is a tearful mea culpa by Cordier recorded on YouTube as well as  commentary by other hedge fund operators saying  what  he did wrong. There was a bigger scandal when  Bernie Madoff used a Ponzi scheme to cheat investors  out of even more money. However, this was under the jurisdiction of the SEC. Madoff is serving his sentence of 145 years in jail. Tragically his son committed suicide.

There is no indication of such venality in the case of James Cordier. However, he used  unbelievably bad judgment investing his hundreds of millions of dollars of clients money. There will Congressional hearings, and steps will be taken to insure that this never happens again. All victims should contact their members of Congress. The Special Victims Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is talking to victims.

In this case the clearing member is not accepting any responsibility for this debacle. It is trying to place the blame on the victims. In my case, I was I was initially billed almost one million dollars for the losses of the clearing firm.

The clearing firm is INTL FCSTone. This a publicly traded company with over seven hundred million dollars of market capitalization. These numbers and their stock price can be checked on line at any time.

Subsequently this clearing firm has backed off from their position that I owed them money and offered to pay me a small sum. However, I will not believe them until the money is in my bank account.

I want to spread the word to the victims of this debacle. I no longer live in the Washington area. It will require some travel there to talk to Members of Congress and the FBI. I still have the habit of carefully recording my expenses.

In any event I will be less expensive than a large contingent fee law firm. There several that want up the  victims of OptionSellers. You can sign up with. There are two problems with this. First they say it would take a year and a half to win the case. Second, their fee is generally 35% of anything they win. I recently terminated my agreement with the law firm I signed up with.

I still have credibility and good will with the senior members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. To some extent their creditability as the oversight  committees of the CFTC is also on the line.

Mike McLeod

 

 

When I was the young general counsel of the Senate Agriculture Committee I drafted the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974. I did so with the help of Doctor Richard Sandor, the young economist of the Chicago Board of Trade. I certainly would not have had sufficient expertise without him.

When I left the Senate in 1978 to go into private practice, my first client was the Chicago Board of Trade. It remained my client until It was
acquired by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in 2007.

I did pro bono work after the Great Recession of 2008 as a member of The Coalition for Futures Reform. This effort was to seek remedies for the economic meltdown rather than seek to find fraudulent activity of any individual trader. It resulted in the enactment of the legislation known as Dodd-Frank.

Over the years, a complete body of law and regulation has developed. There were some little incidents when traders tried to get around the law and paid the price. However, there were never any major scandals until now. A few months ago a major scandal erupted involving OptionSellers.com, a solely owned hedge fund of James Cordier.

There is a tearful mea culpa by Cordier recorded on YouTube as well as  commentary by other hedge fund operators saying what he did was wrong. There was a bigger scandal when Bernie Madoff used a Ponzi scheme to cheat investors out of even more money. However, this was under the jurisdiction of the SEC. Madoff is serving his sentence of 145 years in jail.

There is no indication of such venality in the case of James Cordier. However, he used unbelievably bad judgment investing his 170 clients money. There will be Congressional hearings, and steps will be taken to insure that this never happens again.

Mike McLeod